Sunnyside Rural Trust recycle tools for our Chelsea show garden

In keeping with an increased emphasis on sustainability, The National Garden Scheme Garden for RHS Chelsea will feature a number of recycled and repurposed items. Some, like the old tools that will be on display in the potting shed, were destined for the local tip before being rescued by the Hertfordshire based Sunnyside Rural Trust. Known for innovative trainee schemes and services that offer wellness, training and employment to young people and adults with learning disabilities, Sunnyside blends social enterprise and day care with the therapeutic nature of horticulture. They began refurbishing and selling garden tools as part of the project in March 2023. 

Lewis Sinfield (pictured above right with a team of students) who runs the tool project, says: “We felt that rescuing old garden tools and restoring them would not only be a good idea for teaching new skills to our trainees, but also be a positive way to recycle useful items and generate additional income.” 

In seven months over 100 refurbished tools including rakes, forks, spades and hoes have been refurbished and sold at the charity’s Northchurch site. 

“We hope to expand the scheme to our site in Hemel Hempstead and to use the initial income to support that expansion, buying equipment and materials to complete the work,” adds Lewis. “The end goal is to have a self-sustaining scheme with all profit going back into the Trust.” 

Bees kept at the Hemel site also provide raw wax which is mixed with linseed oil to help seal and protect the wooden handles.  

“This fabulous idea of rescuing discarded gardening tools from the local tip and restoring them for use as part of an educational programme is such a great example of how to recycle,” says Tom Stuart-Smith. “Not only does it prevent items going to landfill but it teaches new skills to local people and creates beautiful, serviceable garden tools that help support the Sunnyside Rural Trust. We’re thrilled to have a selection of the tools on display as part of The National Garden Scheme Garden at RHS Chelsea this year.” 

The tools will be sold after the Chelsea show alongside surplus plants from the garden at Chilworth Manor, Surrey on Saturday 1 June. For more details to follow. 


Visit the gardens on the Sunnyside Rural Trust Trail 

The three sites that comprise this innovative project open for the National Garden Scheme on Saturday 29 June as part of the Sunnyside Rural Trust Trail. The Trail includes three, six-acre gardens located along the Bulbourne valley, just off the A4251 and close to the Chilterns AONB. The Northchurch site is a market garden using ‘no dig’ methods and has a nature trail with wildlife pond and small animal farm whilst at Sunnyside Berkhamsted there is a vegetable growing area and extensive cane and espalier fruit garden, with a woodland and hazel coppice, each busy with wildlife. The third site, Hemel Food Garden, is a Green Flag award winning site that is also a plant nursery growing peat free perennial and annual bedding for domestic and commercial clients. They have an orchard, quiet garden space and market garden, growing a wide range of vegetables for their own use. For a day out why not drop in to all three sites under a combined ticket. 

For more details click here:  Find a Garden | National Garden Scheme (ngs.org.uk) 


Read more about Our Chelsea Garden here



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