Banish the plastic and take a natural approach to your garden
GARDENERS – we’re a funny lot. We spend hours meticulously planning our gardens, hours pouring over seed catalogues and plant nurseries, all in pursuit of creating our perfect plot. And, when we’ve finally completed our outdoor masterpiece, what do we do? Plonk a ruddy great plastic garden set right in the middle and completely spoil the look.
Poor design and lack of innovation have long been a problem when it comes to “gardenalia”.
Whether it’s plant pots or pergolas, table or tealights, there’s been little to commend the breadth of products available in most garden centres up and down the country.
I’ve never been a huge fan of plastic in the garden, for example. Plastic might be practical but I’ve always felt that natural materials such as terracotta, glass and wood sit much more comfortably among plants and trees. And so agrees Jon Holloway, founder of Garden Trading, one of the biggest British design success stories of the last two decades.
Two decades ago and spurred on by his wife Karen, a keen gardener, Jon decided to set up a company specialising in high quality and well-designed garden products.
Nowadays, we take it for granted that we can buy gorgeous enamelled watering cans or colourful compost bins, but it’s not always been like that. When the Garden Trading Company started in 1994 there was little competition. The market for nostalgic, well-made gardenalia was a rich seam just waiting to be mined.
“I started Garden Trading in a converted cowshed next to a small farm house that I rented’ explains Jon. “I took a stand at the spring trade fair in Birmingham in 1994 and the formula was well received; within a few months I was selling to some large clients in the US, and Conran, Heal’s and John Lewis in the UK.”
At first, Garden Trading sold products solely for the garden –
GARDENALIA: everything from galvanised barometers to wooden apple trays. It soon became clear, however, that the boundary between outdoors and indoors didn’t have to be rigid and Jon brought Garden Trading indoors with a collection of stylish homewares.
Customers went mad for the company’s trademark mix of contemporary and retro designs whether it was outdoor lamps or enamel breadbins. In fact, if you see a wicker trug or a galvanised florists’ bucket for sale in the UK there’s a good chance it’s come through their warehouse.
A month rarely goes by when one of Jon’s products isn’t mentioned in a property supplement or interior design magazine. And with good reason. Garden Trading has well and truly led the campaign for British-designed, durable and practical garden products.
Jill Atkinson, who sells Garden Trading products in her Olive Branch stores, says: “Most things you buy have a company’s name splashed all over them – one of the things I love about the things we sell from Garden Trading is that they aren’t branded – the products are simple, traditional and allowed to speak for themselves.”
You can find a wide range of Garden Trading products in the Olive Branch, Main Street, Addingham 01943 830123 and Market Place, Easingwold 01347 823402.
Composting bucket £18 from the Garden Trading Company.