watering can

Essential to any garden is a good watering can. Naturally. Like my collection of galvanised buckets, I prefer metal watering cans for their ability to endure wet winters and bright summers. Weathering them just develops their character. They should last well beyond my lifetime, and do it beautifully, a pair of requirements I like to use before purchasing anything these days.

watering can © elisa rathje 2012

My sweet family gave me a great tankard of a watering can for Mothering Sunday our first year in London. Good choice, particularly as we had to carry water from the kitchen upstairs, through the living room, out the french doors, up the steps and down the long narrow garden. A rainbarrel made that task easier later on. I keep this one in the cottage’s greenhouse now, to care for the winter cut-and-come-again lettuces that have sprouted a rich spring green. I do prefer my homemade thumb-sprinkler for the seedlings, but these strong lettuces need a good soaking.

watering can © elisa rathje 2012

I’m looking for a rose for an antique watering can I found at a fair in Sussex, no luck yet. This one has a small leak, so I dash from the kitchen to the potted flowers. I’m counting on a handy person to fix it sometime! Leaky and rose-less, I adore it anyway. The watering can is a very old design, easily 17th century:

The term “watering can” first appeared in 1692, in the diary of keen cottage gardener Lord Timothy George of Cornwall. Before then, it was known as a “watering pot”. In 1885 the “Haws” watering can was patented by Michael Deas. He replaced the top mounted handle with a single round handle at the rear.

Watering pot, so charming.

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