I visited a place called Oakham Treasures a few days ago. It’s an immense and impressive collection of tractors and vintage paraphernalia, collected by one man over the course of his life. They say it’s a museum but it felt more like rummaging in your grandfather’s shed. It smelt of oil and dirt and more oil and it was absolutely fascinating – to someone obsessed with vintage, like me.
There was a cabinet showcasing vintage gardening products which immediately caught my eye. The product above, I thought, was particularly amusing, ‘Slug Death – One taste and they are DEAD. It’s just a miracle!’ How brilliant is that? It does exactly what it says on the tin. Why aren’t product names more blunt like that these days? Garden centre shelves would be a lot funnier.
One of the only products that I actually recognised was this tin of Tomorite Tomato food. Back then they did it in these funky-looking tin cans, now we just get squeezy plastic bottles. Hmmm..
Next up, that gardener’s best friend, Dithane. I’d noticed Percy Thrower talk about it in his book but I’d never seen a real vintage can. Quite pretty really. Next to it is something called Cheshunt Compound, a fungicide that apparently helps eliminate damping off in seedlings.
And this is my personal favourite. A card featuring a beautiful bouquet of flowers is made by SureKill and is to instruct you in the ways of using everyone’s favourite synthetic pesticide, DDT. You might have also spotted some lovely Nutscene twine in there too. Notice that the design hasn’t changed, not even one bit. I like that. And I’ve no idea what Orthocide is – sounds toxic though doesn’t it?
I was nicely surprised to see a copy of ‘Adam The Gardener’ at the museum. I had found out about this book only last week when my friend showed me a copy that her dad had dug out of his loft. If I’d known it was a collector’s item I would have swiped it while she was making the coffee (no, not really Amanda).
Last but not least is ‘the wheel’ – every gardener has ‘the wheel’ and it seems like it’s no modern invention either. The Daily Mail were on to its usefulness early on and were using it to sell newspapers. The functionality is the same, the look is a little more on the vintage side.