gardening hardscaping

Purchasing an antique water pump as garden decor

antique water pump

Since we trenched for new water lines, I have been trying to come up with clever ways to make hose posts. Many of the posts on the property are either just straight PVC coming up out of the ground or 4×4 posts with the faucet coming out of a drilled hole and the piping U-bracketed to that. I was quite pleased with myself for creating the upscaled version of this complete with iron hose bracket and solar lighting post cap.

Because I’m planning to design a rose garden, I wanted a more creative way to position the irrigation. Since we live on a farm, I thought it would be clever to purchase an antique well pump online. I had been looking on and off for a couple of months. The ones I liked were either too expensive or local pickup only… and nearly all of them were in the mid-west. Just when I was about to give up, I looked one last time on ebay. Lo and behold, a gorgeous antique pump jumped out in front of me and it was only $150. Of course, it was local pickup. And of course, it was… wait, what? Bradenton, Florida? How does a midwest style antique water pump make its way to Manatee county? That’s only an hour from me. So, I bought it.

Well, we were going to the Lady Gaga concert that weekend in Miami. I made arrangements with the seller to pick the piece up on Sunday at 4pm (at the time I didn’t know if it was a man or a woman, but I assumed it was a man). We pull up to the home, as a gentleman waved us in. I could see the pump flat on the ground, as the gentleman walked over to the car, I looked in his face and said, “Hey, I know you!”

Now, you may think I purchase items from ebay all the time. But the fact of the matter is I purchased two plants and this pump. That’s it. Then you might think, it makes sense that someone from your gardening friends had something you liked… but Curt is not a gardening friend. He is a political associate from a campaign we both worked on in 2014. It was really mind blowing that of all the people selling pumps, I happen to get one from someone I knew pretty well, purely by chance.

After we caught up on things, I asked him if the pump had a story. He said it was his mom’s from her farm in Illinois. He brought it down for his wife’s garden, but they never really did anything with it. They were getting ready to sell their home and move so he put it up for auction. Well, it now has a good home with me!

This is a huge iron pump more than four feet tall! Curt’s mother had it screwed into a round paver for stability. I’m not sure if I will keep that on there exactly that way. We were going to see if I could fit the pex pipe up through the bottom and somehow install the spigot at the top. Or, we can make it a water feature fountain. I think that would look really cute.

I do plan to put it in the rose garden once I make arrangements for that. My roses are a few weeks away from shipping from Alabama, and I just made a big cabinet purchase… so the exact placement of it will have to wait until I can implement the design. Meanwhile, it has a temporary home next to the raised cedar garden bed.

Stay tuned to see what we actually decide to do with it!

Until then,
Happy Gardening!

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