A trug is constructed like a small clinker-built boat with a keel.

Carl favours using Ash in summer and Sweet Chestnut in winter for the frame and White Willow for the strips. Ash die-back has caused lots of problems as the bark peels off from the wood of diseased trees. He uses copper nails that have increased significantly during his working life from £36 to £200 for ten kilos.

He can put together six trugs in an hour but preparing the wood takes many hours before the assembly process. He uses a throw, an axe, and a draw knife. He smooths them off and rubs in linseed oil to finish. He also makes traditional hurdles in a range of sizes.

Carl attends a lot of agricultural shows across the country and enjoys his interaction with the public. He is sceptical of gardening programmes that want him to supply samples for free when they have a budget for props. He has a nice line in bark flowers from Elder sticks to charm the younger admirers.

He has a good eye for recognising his traditional work and that of his father that may be passed off as Victorian antiques. He took over from his father and is hoping that his 11-year-old grandson will follow him.

You could say ‘Carl Sadler - Trug maker to the Stars’ but his work on ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Wicked’ is more about creating chairs for Luke Sky Walker and looms for Witch Ariana Grande. This was tricky when the size of the stars was wrongly estimated but led to an interesting encounter with Daniel Craig in his storm trooper cameo role on the set of ‘The Force Awakens.’

He is proud of his reputation in the film world for providing value for money in a world where suppliers are out for a fast buck, giving the instance when he offered to supply bean poles for 50p each when the local garden centre wanted £15 a pole! This approach leads to his continued contracts.

Carl was a striking presence on the stage of the hall surrounded by his hurdles and trugs as shown in the photograph. The Gardeners were very impressed and keen to purchase original trugs and hurdles direct from their maker.

Our next meeting is Wednesday 11th October 2023 - 7.15pm for a 7.30pm start at Kilmersdon Village Hall. James Cross will tell us about ‘The Bishop’s Palace Gardens past and present.’ Refreshments and raffle on arrival. Visitors are very welcome, see website for further details. www.kilmersdongardeners.org

Trisha Jordan