Home Gardening products and reviews GardenSkill: a haven of gardening inventions

GardenSkill: a haven of gardening inventions

Family business: from left, brothers Simon and Phil, mum and dad Carol and Brooke and Simon's wife Diana. Picture; GardenSkill
Family business: from left, brothers Simon and Phil, mum and dad Carol and Brooke and Simon's wife Diana. Picture; GardenSkill

How one order led to the birth of a company

It’s great to hear the stories behind how companies form, especially if they’re unusual, none more so than GardenSkill.

The family business, based in Redditch, Worcestershire, was (and is) a specialist in engineering and rubber moulding, with more than 40 years’ experience.

Both founder Brooke Davis and his wife Carol are keen gardeners.

Brooke, through his engineering background and talent for noticing problems and figuring out solutions, started to see how some equipment could be improved, or changed to appeal to a different sort of gardener.

About 15 years ago, a small company approached Brooke to manufacture a mysterious green rubber ball, which eventually became the well-known Build-a-Ball, used to make fruit cages.

Business was born

In 2009, the owner decided to get out of the business and handed over product rights to Brooke, so GardenSkill was born, now selling the whole fruit cages.

Other products designed by Brooke followed, firstly the pop-up cages, inspired by his son’s laundry bag at university and a folding triangular fly cover from my his childhood in Nigeria.

He remembered how flies were an absolute menace, so whenever they had tea outside they needed to protect the milk and sugar – hence the fly guard.

With those two memories, he created a range of pop-up garden products – cages and giant pop-up cages and pop-up cloches for smaller and narrower growing patches.

Brooke in the workshop. Picture; GardenSkill
Brooke in the workshop. Picture; GardenSkill

Common-sense approach

The underlying principles of Brooke’s products are:
  • Ease of assembly and use
  • Light and flexible without losing core strength and build quality
  • Convenient to store
  • They must look great in the garden.
From there, Brooke moved on to pop-up greenhouses, raised beds and grow tunnels.
He approaches each project by not looking just to recreate what’s already out there but to offer something different and hopefully better:
  • Raised beds have curved edges so that they stack without falling over
  • The cane ball has different size openings for connecting various thicknesses of bamboo cane.
GardenSkill is the UK’s largest supplier of pop-up garden products including fruit and veg cages, cloches and tunnels, raised beds, gloves, netting, hand tools, pest control treatments and more, visit gardenskill.co.uk.
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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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