TRANSPORT TOOLS, SEED, AND YOUR GARDEN HARVEST IN A VINTAGE TRUG AND FEEL A DEEP CONNECTION TO THE ROOTS OF A GARDENING TRADITION.
Vintage trugs, used to harvest vegetables and flowers for centuries, continue to have a pretty and practical place in the garden.
OPPOSITE Both beautiful and useful, boat-shape trugs are perfect for cut flowers and other delights harvested from the garden. THIS PHOTO The unique feature of this midsize trug, which sits on the potting bench in collector Kindra Clineff’s barn, is its tall and wide handle. The trug is a great size for storing small stacks of thumb pots, here used for transplanting nasturtium seedlings.
Some collections are built out of necessity, and photographer Kindra Clineff is practical. When her first onion crop was ripe, Kindra needed something sturdy but lightweight to bring the harvest to the kitchen. That’s when she stumbled upon a trug and discovered the quintessential garden tool. “Trugs just exude the essence of a simpler time,” Kindra says. “Carry a trug and it’s like being transported to an old English garden.”
Kindra’s sisters noticed her affection for the tool, and— knowing that she never has only one of anything—began gifting more to their garden-obsessed sibling. Kindra now has a collection of trugs in various shapes and sizes hailing from numerous antiques shops and flea markets.
Unlike other styles of baskets, crates, and tool totes associated with gardening and agriculture, trugs are designed to take the weight off a gardener’s wrist so she can instead sling the load over her arm, leaving hands free for other actions. True trugs have a long, svelte, oval shape with a curved bottom stabilized on short feet. That format gave them their name: Trug comes from trog, the Anglo-saxon word for boat-shape.
Some of Kindra’s trugs sit in the pantry and barn cradling harvested potatoes or garlic, while many others have high-profile positioning on shelves throughout the house where they display plant labels, terra-cotta thumb pots, twine, tools, seed packets, and more. But when the garden is knee-deep in blossoms, you’ll often find Kindra toting a trug over her arm loaded with dozens of cut flowers like a summery floral arrangement. Sometimes, practicality needs to take a scenic detour.
I OFTEN USE THEM FOR STORAGE AND AS CATCHALLS. WHEN I NEED ONE FOR HARVESTING, THEY’RE ALL INVARIABLY FULL AND REQUIRE EMPTYING.
COLLECTOR KINDRA CLINEFF
LEFT Anyone who has ever cut sweet peas in the garden knows that the vining stems and tendrils can tangle inextricably in a bucket. This vintage English trug with a painted green rim and double set of handles makes it easier to lay sweet peas side by side so arranging goes smoothly. ABOVE Holding a large painted trug filled with sunflowers, Kindra heads inside from her perennial garden lush with the golden flowers and pink phlox. RIGHT The Clineff clan found this flat-bottom grape basket at a flea market where they purchased it from a French antiques dealer. A strong rustic bentwood handle keeps the load steady even when it’s filled past the brim.
ABOVE When toting sunflowers, something large that can manage the long stems is necessary. This traditional trug waits in the pantry for Kindra to arrange the flowers into a bouquet. ABOVE RIGHT A traditional boat-shape trug would not be ideal for bringing pints of strawberries home from the farmers market; Kindra enlists a green painted square berry basket instead.
RIGHT Although not a true trug, this blue woven basket has clearly seen a lot of service, probably spanning half a century.
WRITTEN AND PRODUCED BY TOVAH MARTIN PHOTOGRAPHY BY KINDRA CLINEFF
COUNTRY GARDENS //