Since I started digging in my new garden this spring, I have found old tile, broken bricks, a GM key, the on/off knob of some large appliance, and something that looks like a fuse (the dog found that and was quite hurt when I put it out of reach).
I also keep finding small pieces of china, mostly in plain white, but some with patterns in blue, pale green, and orange. I keep a jar under the cherry tree to collect them.
I always feel sad about these broken dishes and wonder about their history. Did a child drop a tea cup or run into a cabinet? Did a mother knock a plate off the counter, upset after a fight? Why toss the pieces in the garden?
In my old yard in Chevy Chase, I seemed to hit copper pipe in the ground almost every place I wanted to put a tree or shrub. The original owner, who built the house in 1928 and lived there over 50 years, was a plumber and had installed garden faucets in four spots. Near the big stone grill he also built, I unearthed iron stakes for a horseshoe pit, three duckpin balls, a lot of beer and Orange Crush bottle tops, and a wonderful old concrete flamingo, which still had some pink paint but no legs.
I picture him relaxing among the well-watered flowers in the 1930s, perhaps expecting guests later and perhaps reading Popular Mechanics on how to construct your own round concrete pond, which could be ornamented with regularly spaced, embedded white quartz stones (oh yes).
What bits and pieces from the past have you found while digging in your garden and what story do you tell yourself about them? Please click on “Leave a Comment” below.