Monday, May 16, 2011

The Art of the Watering Can

This past Saturday morning, while walking through the gardens with visitors, one of my friends, Dee, made the comment that it must take me a long time to water all of the plants.  It gave me pause to think about it because depending on the time of the season and how much rain has fallen, it can take up to a couple of hours every couple of days.  However, watering planted pots is often an entirely different issue since many pots require using a watering can instead of the easier and faster gardening hose.  And, of course, depending again on the temperature and precipitation effects, plants in pots need to be watered more often than plants in garden beds. Sometimes, I think a watering can is permanently attached to the end of my arm.  Hence, I have come to appreciate it's purpose as well as it's beauty and simplicity.

Watering cans in my Blooming Hill Shop.
Vintage piece in my Blooming Hill Shop.
Having been around since probably the beginning of time in some way, shape or form, the watering can was so named near the end of the 17th Century in England.  Until then it was called, among other things, a watering pot, and it's appearance probably hasn't changed much since then either.  Perhaps, the handle has moved and the spout has become shorter or longer, bent than straight, and the rose has become detachable.  However, beyond that, the watering can really has stayed the same in the world of gardening.

Watering Can on a garden stake in my Blooming Hill Shop.
English comedian, John Cleese once described it as "A large cylindrical, tin-plated vessel with a perforated pouring piece, much used by the lower classes for the purpose of artificially moistening the soil surface." He gave it a bad rap, totally uncalled for. Perhaps he didn't see the beauty in it's form and function.  Even Martha Stewart has said, among it's many uses and delights, it's a "good thing" for washing off muddy feet fresh out of the garden. 

In the evolution of things gardening, the watering can, nowadays, comes in a plethora of shapes, sizes and colors and even though the garden hose is far more efficient, in my opinion, the watering can is , either inside or out, as well as for their muddy feet or anything else that may need a gentle shower of soft rain-like droplets so as not to disturb a plant's or a pet's or a foot's delicate features.

Beyond that, a watering can's presence, with it's craftsmanship and artistry, is essential in the garden from the lowly dollar store plastic example to the proper English piece made in gleaming copper or the much sought after, zinc variety.  Watering cans offer grace and beauty whether they are "frilly and fru-fru" or austere and simple.

Flowers and fairies embellish vintage cans in my Blooming Hill Shop.
Vintage can all gussied up in polk-a-dots in my Blooming Hill Shop.
I love watering cans in all varieties, but especially all glammed up and not too heavy.  Here are few from my shop all flowered and fairied up and ready to go.

When it comes to my watering can, the rose is nice to have but not really essential since I'm more concerned with getting water to the roots rather than adding water to the petals which can encourage early wilting.

I know I could not live without my Haws Watering Can with it's long spout and just big enough to carry a lot of water without being too cumbersome.  The little Haws is really not very useful at all, but it sure is cute. 

And, speaking of cute...who can forget that watering cans can also be made purely for vanity and looks.  Not every watering can has to be a workhorse.  But, in my opinion, they have to be pretty and unique in some way. These are two of my favorites as well.  Both are old and passed down to me from my mother's house. Obviously, when it comes to watering cans, form and function can mean many things to me.  In any case, watering cans are pieces of artistry both in the garden and in the home.

1 comment:

  1. I admired this last one when I visited today and wished I had asked you about it! Now I know. :)
    A post will be coming soon with plenty of photos, including a picture of you watering your lovely garden.
    Thank you so much for your time today, and I wish you luck at your fair this weekend!