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Category Archives: Urban Garden

It doesn't take long to dig out a variety of nails from our garden soil.

It doesn’t take long to dig out a variety of nails from our garden.

 

This is the reason why I start excavating when our dogs start digging: Rusty nails.

 

They are everywhere in the ground of our garden. When the dogs are digging, I have to extract the nails, preferably before the dogs even reach them. Who knows where they come from, but best to get rid of them before they come too close to any soft dog paws.

 

Only one hole dug by the dogs contains a variety of numerous nails making me wonder how it came to be that The Broken Palace was destroyed.

 

From masonry nails to tiny screws, from bolts to cut clasp nails to staple fasteners, this is a collection of pretty much every nail type there is. So how did all of these come to be in our ground?

 

If you know more about The Broken Palace please get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

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What a find: A sealed Heynes Mathew Ltd. vial. It even still got some liquid inside.

What a find: A sealed Heynes Mathew Ltd. vial. It even still got some liquid inside.

A lot of the items we excavate from our garden are puzzling: I have no idea what they are or what they were used for, nor how old or from where, and most importantly: why they are buried in our ground.

The more surprising when it’s still intact and traceable: I’m always amazed that it is still possible to excavate entirely intact bottles. After removing the garden soil with a digger back to ground level, hacking at the clay earth to loosen it up, and dogs digging up the rest:

How amazing that this vial didn’t break. And it’s sealed! With something inside! 😮

It is even possible to read the pressed imprint of the manufacturer’s signature: Heynes Mathew Ltd.

Now, there’s something to research! And it comes up with results, even with dates:

Extract from The Cape Town Guide (1897) p139:
“Heynes, Mathew & Co. – This firm so widely know throughout South Africa was established in Cape Town at the beginning of the century. Their operations increased so rapidly that they found it necessary a year or two ago to construct new premises, and these are now amongst the most attractive in Cape Town. Heynes Mathew & Co.’ Building is six stories high, and is situated at the corner of Adderly and Longmarket Streets. The first floor is let to various tenants, but the remainder of the building is devoted to the requirements of their large business. They manufacture numerous specialities for their trade, and are agents also for many remedies which have a world-wide reputation.”

Even though the Heynes, Mathew & Co. building has been demolished, it appears the company still exists: HEYNES MATHEW LTD – DIVISION OF SA DRUGGISTS

Maybe they can help me date the year when this vial was made. 😮

If you know more about The Broken Palace, please get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

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I excavated this from our garden. What could it be?

I excavated this from our garden. What could it be?

 

After excavating what appears to be a door knocker, I thought I had dug out a door bell next.

Wondering why you’d want both – maybe the people at The Broken Palace were especially hospitable – I’d better double check.

 

As I started researching my find I quickly realised things didn’t add up. The mechanism of a push button door bell would look very different:

This 'original art deco vintage wooden electric door bell push press button' looks similar to my garden excavation, but when it's opened up to show the mechanism, it's clear that this doesn't match up.

This ‘original art deco vintage wooden electric door bell push press button’ looks similar to my garden excavation, but when it’s opened up to show the mechanism, it’s clear that this doesn’t match up.

In contrast:

 

Instead there are three prongs sticking out at the backside similar to the Australian thee pin plug:

This ‘black 3 pin extension lead AU/NZ plug top’ looks quite similar to my find.

This ‘black 3 pin extension lead AU/NZ plug top’ looks quite similar to my find.

In comparison:

 

 

So maybe this is an antique cord plug for lamps or fans like these:

These antique replica mid-century plugs look quite like my excavation.

These antique replica mid-century plugs look quite like my excavation.

Quite a resemblance:

 

However, the shape of the three pins is quite different. Some similar looking plugs refer to ‘early’ electric style, so maybe this is what plugs used to look like in South Africa in the early days of electricity?

If you know what this could be, or have references to antiques in South Africa, or remember The Broken Palace, please get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

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Our new garden design: Chillout area with braai at the back.

Our new garden design: Chillout area with braai at the back.

 

Progress in our garden is slow: There’s still so much fixing going on around the house, that our backyard is mostly abused as a storage facility.

So when finally the east wall got done, we had some extra space freed up to move the concrete blocks.

And the rest was left to play:

Like tending to a zen garden, an empty space is quite inviting to be reflective and creative.

 

The first time the concrete blocks turned into an interactive group seating area:

 

Now the concrete blocks form a centre piece, as the garden work will continue along the garden wall. They cover quite a bit of ground, which will prevent dust being blown around. And they stretch out like a giant sofa, an outdoor lair, complete with backrest and bird bath. And of course, the braai at the back:

 

With water restrictions plans for our garden are changing, so let’s see what the next giant lego reshuffle will look like. 🙂

 

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Digging stuff out from our garden: What could this be?

Digging stuff out from our garden: What could this be?

With a new puppy in our home, we got a new force for digging at work. Gigi has reached that stage, where digging is the coolest thing ever.

Luckily our garden is not yet done and our dogs can dig as much as they like. In fact, they’re actually helping us: With the clay ground it’s super hard labour and with an entire house buried in our backyard, there’s still plenty to excavate. So wherever you dig, you’re bound to dig something up.

This time it’s an Iron Ring Pull with Flower Rosette. At least that’s the closest I came to finding something on the internet that resembles this.

An 8 petal iron rosette with a twisted pull ring. Was this perhaps the door knocker of The Broken Palace?

Could this be the door knocker of The Broken Palace?

Could this be the door knocker of The Broken Palace?

If you remember this door knocker or know anything about The Broken Palace, please get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

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Chino is having a great time exploring balconia.

Chino is having a great time exploring balconia.

 

Keeping plants outside makes them vulnerable.

Putting a plastic crate upside down over your plant pots safeguards them from birds who would otherwise pick seeds and seedlings.

The plastic create also gives your pet rats a feeling of protection and allows them to roam their rattie garden freely without having to be anxious something might be out there to get them.

The openings of the plastic crate are the perfect size for their cute heads to pop out and check that everything is still alright. 🙂

 

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Rattie Bean enjoys hanging out in the rattie garden.

Rattie Bean enjoys hanging out in the rattie garden.

 

Our first rattie garden started by accident:

 

To my surprise something began growing in the abandoned flower pot on our balcony.

It was tomatoes!

 

Seems like rats have a green thumb, well if they had a thumb.

 

Because this is what happened:

One of our pet rats wanted to hide her treat – a cherry tomato – away from the rest of the clan.

She left it in a flower pot on our balcony. Really a great hideout, especially if you bury the treasure.

 

The tomato plant thrived and everyone had a good portion of delicious cherry tomatoes.

 

I contribute this to our pet rats:

They played an important part in loosening up the soil to the point that it flew in form of sand dust into our apartment, planting new seeds even if they were no seeds at all but rather food stolen from our plates, and trimming the plants sometimes with the result of total destruction.

 

Well, without our pet rats, the rattie garden would’ve never started.

So if they want to demolish it all and start anew with a different plant, then so be it.

 

It’s a bit like tending to a zen garden, just that the ratties add a random wrecking factor which teaches you to let go of the things as they are and understand that nothing is lost, it just comes back in a different way.

 

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