It’s been a while since I last posted here but Spring has arrived and I am in the garden.
It is 127 steps from my greenhouse door up to the water tap at the back of the house and back again. So says my Fit Bit.
Well, if you have a Fit Bit, surely you are doing steps for fitness?
Err, yes and no. On the days when I am busy in the garden, as I am in April, I get plenty of steps in to keep my Fit Bit from nagging me to get up and move my backside. What is really irritating is when I need a watering can to water in new seedlings or other watering tasks and the blessed thing is up the other end of the garden. Always. Magically. I decided the time had come to source a new one.
What you see above are obviously not new, quite the opposite, in fact. Why?
When I started looking for a new one I was immediately struck by how poorly made new cans are these days. I did not want a plastic one, even if they are much lighter on my hands. The last plastic one I had went the way of all plastic junk, changing to a stiffer texture before cracking and breaking up into hundreds of non-biodegradable pieces. No, thank you. Not again. In this country, the brand name Haws is synonymous with quality watering cans so I went to their website first thinking I would treat myself.
I had a fit of the vapours. £75.00 for a 2 gallon watering can. Gulp! Keep looking.
Yes, there are much cheaper metal watering cans out there but, as soon as you really take in how they are made, you soon see they are yet another false economy. I would guess you might get about 3 years use out of them before they were ready for the bin or possibly to be used as a decorative plant pot. But then, they weren’t that charming to start with either.
So, back to Facebook Marketplace. And there it was. The one on the left in the picture above. A proper, 5 gallon, metal watering can. Yes, not in the first flush of gardening youth but solid. No leaks. Built to last. £20! A bargain if ever there was one.
I was on my way to see a friend in Lincoln so did a short detour to pick it up from the old gentleman whose daughter had organized the sale on FB Marketplace for him. As I approached the old-fashioned front gate of the modest between-the-wars semi-detached house, I was immediately struck by the front garden. It was immaculate in every way. Not a weed to be seen, the beds all cultivated and early annuals planted in neat rows, and the grass mown and edges trimmed.
Gardening love lived here.
The door was around the side and toward the back. I knocked and told the lady who answered that I was looking for Danny. “Oh, hello Duck! He’s up the garden.” I turned to walk up and a man made his way slowly towards me. This was Danny. Slight of build and obviously not well. I could see a small but perfectly formed veg patch behind him and all around me, in every corner that could be cultivated for plants, new growth showed promise even on a chilly, early Spring day. I commented about his fantastic garden and his eyes lit up. He recognised a fellow enthusiast. We got into conversation and he explained how he was now needing to get rid of everything in his garden. He was being treated for lung cancer and just couldn’t do the garden any more. His children were not interested and had told him that anything that was left behind was going in a skip so he’d better get rid of it. This explained the sale of the watering can and many other things as well. He commented wryly that another lady had said she was coming for a smaller watering can over two weeks earlier but had never showed up. I asked him if he would to sell it to me if he was convinced the other lady wasn’t going to show. He was glad to do so and I came away with two stalwart old cans for £35.00. That’s a bargain in anyone’s money but, there’s more to it than that for me.
When I use these cans, I will think of the two generations of gardeners who lovingly watered plants with them, year after year. I will think of the love they had for their little patches and I will feel privileged to be carrying on in that fashion. And I will always remember the joy and gratitude in the dying man’s eyes that his cans were going to live with someone who would use, honour and love them.
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