Allan Blackburn column

Allan Blackburn.
Allan Blackburn.
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If one were to guess what was important about summer, the answer would probably be DIY and gardening.

With the weather finally looking a bit better and two bank holidays under our belts, garden centres have gone into overdrive over recent weeks, so it seems appropriate to join the fray and talk about gardening collectables for a couple of weeks.

As gardening becomes more and more popular, so do gardening collectables.

Gardening television programmes are making an impact on us and we are now spending a lot more time and money making our plots special.

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 antique wheelbarrow can be prettily used as a planter and doesn’t need to be renovated, restored or pampered like our indoor antiques.

These items also have the benefit of costing only as much as new, (and probably inferior) modern day equivalents so you garden can be distinctive without costing a fortune - a 1920s watering can could cost £20 and would make an interesting feature.

The tools of gardening also have a collectable appeal for both their practical purpose and their decorative attraction.

Many collectors like to use their old tools and the craftsmanship involved in producing such old tools means that they are incredibly durable.

During the 17th century, there was a surge in the number of people interested in gardening and there are many books dating from then and into the 18th century which list the tools “necessary to the gardener.”

Unfortunately, there is very little for the collector from these eras – most date from Victoria’s reign onwards into the 20th century.

A 19th century trowel could be found for only a few pounds, but a more unusual item like a garden hose attachment may be worth £25 or more.

We are apparently spending more money than ever on our gardens – it’s wonderful to see that those items valued and used by previous generations can enjoy a new lease of life in today’s gardens.

I’ll talk more about gardening next week.