Charles Gardiner, Antique & Vintage
Goods That Bespeak Their Time

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Shallow Limestone Trough

2 feet wide, 6 feet long, and 4 inches thick, carved from a slab of limestone, a half inch hole drilled near one end tells us that this was originally intended as a watering trough in a poultry farm. Less than an inch deep, the trough itself would make a nice bed for succulents, or perhaps an outdoor potting table, or even an indoor coffee table...

Vintage LimestoneTrough
Garden Hose Reel Cart

This classic yet usable antique metal garden hose reel could have watered that Harison's Yellow Rose almost a hundred years ago. With its iron frame, iron wheels, iron turning crank... only the hose drum itself appears different, and it's galvanized iron or steel, coated with a protective layer of zinc to prevent rusting.

The handle is 34" from the ground; the width from the tip of the crank across to the opposite wheel is 19"; from front to back is 16" with no hose loaded or closer to 20" fully loaded with hose; the drum diameter is 9".

I don't really expect you to use this in your garden, more likely it will end up a conversation piece, but seriously, how's your plastic hose reel cart from China holding up?

  Click to enlarge additional photos


Antique Garden Hose Reel Cart
Bee Skep

If you're still trying to figure out what this is, think of it as a man-made hollow tree for bees, wild or domestic, to build their hive in. Made of wooden lath strips laid alternately one of top of the other, half the suface area is open for bee access and air, while the modified cone shape effectively sheds water. Like any man-made bee hive, it utilized a wax 'foundation' from which the bees build their hive. The foundation frame itself is long gone, but the metal rods that supported it are still in place.

34-1/4 inches tall, the eight-sided figure was not perfectly laid out so it varies between 25-1/2 and 28 inches across at the base. Somewhat akin to tramp art, the skep design dates from the late 19th or early 20th century and makes for an interesting piece of garden sculpture which, should you choose, can be lit from inside for nighttime interest.

Bee Skep

24 inches diameter, 3 inches thick, the face cut in quarter dress. This is a legitimate antique, more than 100 years old, originally from China where it was used to grind nuts for animal feed. This size stone is ideally suited for a stepping stone, the center of a laid brick patio, or the base of a water fountain, all at a fraction of the cost of an American millstone that was used to grind wheat or corn.

Antique 24 inch Millstone
Cast Iron Garden Bench

21 inches tall, it's able to be used either as a seat or as a low table. The heavy cast iron ends were soda blasted clean to preserve the clarity of the casting, and the oak top was replaced. This piece is heavy enough to hold down the deck in a stiff breeze so you'll not be likely to move it often when you've found the right place.

Antique Cast Iron Garden Bench Table
Antique French Wirework Hanging Basket

Late 19th/very early 20th century, 22 inches in diameter, about 13 inches deep, and equipped with a new, twisted link chain with a 90-pound rating. You can actually use this antique for its intended purpose, but the geranium in the 15 inch diameter flower pot shown is not included.

Antique French Wirework Hanging Basket
Antique Wrought Iron Revolving Bench

Late 19th or early 20th century, this revolving bench was intended to be used in the conservatory or sunroom attached to the south side of one's house where it would have held potted plants.

42 inches tall and 37 inches wide at the lowest shelf, it was rotated during the course of the day to give all the plants exposure to the sun and to keep them growing evenly rather than leaning toward the light. Constructed of heavy strap iron joined by rivets, it works as well now as it did when it was built over a hundred years ago.

Antique Wrought Iron Revolving Conservatory Bench
Folding Wooden Serving Trolley

A 1950s Patio or Poolside Serving Trolley that could also serve as a Garden Cart, not for the heavy work but for the display of potted plants. 42 inches long, 24 inches wide, and 26 inches tall at the level of the tray, the cart folds to 10 inches tall for off-season storage. As found, it has a single coat of chippy light green paint over a coat of red paint that I suspect was its original color. There is one small area of soft wood (early sign of rot) on a single slat of the tray; otherwise it is in good shape all around.

Folding Wooden Serving Trolley Garden Cart
Horse Stall Gate

All iron, 48 inches long, 31-1/2 inches tall, the gate is shaped like this so the horse can lean out into the stable to see what's going on, and it shows it... You can see in the shadow that the gate, built straight, now is deflected about a half inch where the horse leaned into it, all in order to see just a little bit further.

Great for the garden, as wall decor, or even in the stable.

Iron Horse Stall Gate
Repurposed Marble Column Fragment / Planter

Probably part of the base of a marble column, this block was carved with a 7-3/4" diameter bore about 5" deep to enable it to be locked into the next lower piece of the base assembly. By turning it over, it was subsequently adapted for use as a planter by drilling a drainage hole through to the bottom of the block. 10-1/2" x 10-1/2" x 8" tall, the block weighs about sixty pounds.

Repurposed Marble Column Fragment Planter
Vintage Terracotta Planter

17 inches in diameter and 9 inches tall, this classically cone-shaped terracotta planter in a turquoise glaze clearly is a mid-century piece. Thick-walled, it's heavy and it's in very good shape, no damage or signs of abuse at all.

Turquoise Glaze Terracotta Garden Planter
Floor Vase

This earthenware vase was said to have come from Africa, and I suspect it did. It was definitely wood-fired because caught in the glaze are signs of the ash-choked, smokey atmosphere of a very rudimentary kiln. 22 inches tall and 15-1/2 inches in diameter at the waist, the vase has a 6 inch open throat. I think it was probably fired at a relatively low temperature and therefore I suggest that it not be exposed to harsh outdoor elements.

Floor Vase
Solid Copper Greenhouse Water Tray

43 inches long, 4-1/2 inches wide, 1 inch deep, water-tight folded construction. Patina shows long use, probably never cleaned and certainly never polished (and I certainly wouldn't...).

Copper Greenhouse Tray