Gardeners Get Back to Traditional Tools

In gardening, as in other areas, people are returning to traditional, solid, well-built tools that will last and be a thing of joy to use. For example, a father and son, John Henry Rudd and his son Graeme, are the last commercial rake makers in Britain. Instead of buying a cheap rake that will fall apart in a season, gardeners are snapping up their hay rake that will last 30 years.

Now they are making almost 1,000 rakes a month at their workshop. Its design hasn't changed: "It's been tried and tested for well over a hundred years, so it can't be far wrong", John explains. I don't think someone's going to invent something better than a wooden hay rake, really", agrees Graeme. "I think it would've been done by now".

The Rudds are "carrying on a tradition where traditions are dying out". The family has been in the business since 1890. Asked what it takes to make a good rake, John replies "A good pair of hands." As far as the future of the craft is concerned, "you just keep hoping that people are going to keep wanting rakes", says Graeme.

willow baskets photo

Image from PH Coate & Son

Willow baskets are also having a big revival, with fewer people using plastic bags. The company, PH Coate & Son, has been making them since 1819 in Somerset where there are ideal growing conditions for willows. Shopping trolleys on wheels are popular as well since people are shopping locally instead of using their cars. Says one of the founders: " We are noticing that people don't mind paying a little extra for something grown and made in the UK."


Image from

Garden trugs are another popular item. Instead of using plastic trays, people want the wooden ones which they are also using for picking fruit and vegetables and flowers. One maker is turning out fifty a week now.

Wallaby lawn mower photo

Image from The Times

The ultimate traditional "tool", replacing a lawn mower is the wallaby. The Times reports that owners of huge estates are turning to the Outback animal to eat their grass. It is cheaper and faster than a lawn mower and friendly. One man, whose friends thought he was "mad as a hatter" to get a pair now says: "They are so easy to look after and so cute, even some of our friends are talking about getting some." The Times
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