One of the pleasures of collecting gardening antiques is that we do not need to worry too much about looking after them - a 100 year old antique wheel barrow can be used as a pretty planter and doesn’t need to be renovated, restored or pampered like our indoor antiques. These items also have the benefit of costing as much as new (and probably inferior) modern day equivalents, so your garden can be distinctive without costing a fortune – a 1920’s watering can could cost £25 and would make an interesting feature!
Sundials make a fantastic centre piece in any garden – a descendant of the Egyptian shadow clock, the sundials first recorded mention was in 742BC. Some sundials are engraved on walls or set up on pedestals. A lovely copper sundial on a distinctive column from the 19th century could cost as much as £600 or more.
However, the ultimate gardening ornament has to be the gnome. The earliest gnomes date back from the 18th century, but they became established during the Victorian era thanks to Sir Charles Isham. He developed a miniature rock garden at his Northamptonshire home, which was populated by gnomes. Gnome fancying was, at this time, an upper class pursuit, but as their production peaked in the 1930’s they became a symbol of the suburban middle classes! An unusual Victorian gnome could be worth anything up to £500 but a 20th century example would probably fetch about £50.
As well as decorative gardening items, antique furniture is also popular. Wrought or cast iron garden furniture like benches, tables or gates are today greatly in demand. Made from around 1800 onwards, the most prolific production was during the Victorian era. Whilst earlier pieces are sometimes more expensive, it is the decorative appeal and the size of the piece that’s most important – a 19th century wrought iron bench could sell for as much as £1,200.