When we were in France we visited a lovely couple, Steve and Chris. He’s an antique dealer and she works as a gardener. Their interests come together with a collection of old gardening tools and equipment that Chris has amassed.
They’ve a lovely old house that they have done up and a huge barn that is full of what appears to be junk to the untrained eye at first glance until you realise how old the junk is. Bicycles from the early 1900s for example.
Chris’s section has box upon box of hand tools, large tools upon more large tools. Digging forks with a spring attachment to lever the soil, spades of all shapes and sizes and rakes in various widths.
She’s got over 70 apple picking devices. Designed to be operated with a string to a lever on the end of a long pole they could pick the perfect apple from the top of a tall tree and bring it safely un-bruised to the ground. Redundant now with dwarfing rootstock trees in orchards designed for mechanical cultivation.
Pride of her watering can collection has to be including an 18th C copper can decorated with rain clouds, peasants and a royal fleur de leys. Quite a find, that. You can imaging liveried gardeners hurrying back and forth between butt and plant ensuring that Marie Antoinette only ever saw perfect blooms. Retiring quietly into the background when the nobility appeared, unaware of the effort that had gone in to provide their perfect surroundings.
She did mention that one day she might even open a garden museum to display her collection complete with explanatory tags. You can find photos of the watering cans in the photo section – Allotment Photographs June 2007
The Garden Museum Competition
Now one box contain quite a number of the item in the photo below. So here’s the competition – can you guess what it is? The prize is a round of applause! Just use the comments box below to enter. I couldn’t work it out and had to be told.