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Category Archives: Urban Garden

 

Look what I excavated from our garden: A vintage Mother of Pearl button

Look what I excavated from our garden: A vintage Mother of Pearl button

 

The excitement of excavating something shiny when cleaning up the garden soil from rubble and debris!

 

I gave this Mother of Pearl button a rinse and it’s gleaming in the sun.

 

According to Vintage Button Emporium this nacre button is even worth something, like a pound or two. It is the rim that makes it more valuable than just a plain version. Craftsmanship is always worth something.

 

Interestingly, this button seems to have been fastened with a metal noose, which is still attached to it. So was it part of some sort of uniform maybe?

 

If you know more about The Broken Palace or the people who lived there and what happened that we’re digging up so many artefacts. please get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

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These pieces of plaster have been around for a while: They all show different layers of paint.

These pieces of plaster have been around for a while: They all show different layers of paint.

 

This looks like we have many houses buried in our garden, with the colour palette ranging through the entire colour spectrum.

I love how each plaster piece has at least 2 different colour layers.

Do they all come from one house? That must’ve looked like Pippi Longstocking’s Villa Villekulla.

Or are these remains of the houses that stood on the now abandoned corner of Greatmore and York Street?

And why are they still in our garden, why did no-one ever clean up the rubble?

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

 

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Metal bits and bobs that I find plentiful in our garden soil.

Metal bits and bobs that I find plentiful in our garden soil.

 

These are the contents of only one hole.

 

You might think I excavated this over time.

 

Far from that: The dogs start digging and I start collecting. This is the result of only one of their digging holes. I don’t even know what half of these things are.

 

The metal bits sit compacted on top of each other. Like parts of a house that has collapsed and been buried.

 

In a matter of one session of removing all items from the ground that could pose a danger to digging puppy paws, this is what I collect. Besides gazillions of nails and other unidentifiable scrap metal.

 

What happened to The Broken Palace that once stood here? Are these the remains? How come this never got cleared up? If you know more, kindly get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de

 

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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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