"The Society" Considers Watering Cans

Dear Esteemed and Potential Members of the Society for the Preservation and Propagation of Old-Time Gardening Wisdom, Lore, and Superstition (SPPOTGWLS or “the Society”),

It has occurred to me, your President, that it is high time a census of the gardening world was conducted to find out just how many watering cans some gardeners have.

I recently took a tour around my garden, sunroom, garage, great room, kitchen, etc. and determined that I have approximately four watering cans that I actually use for watering, and approximately… well I’m not sure how many others there are, that sit around, perhaps hoping to be used one day. That’s why a census is needed.

Which reminds me that I need to fill those watering cans I do use and water the plants that are now indoors and those that are still on the porch. There is always something to do in the garden, isn’t there?


As I reflected on the watering can, one of the greatest gardening inventions of all time (the hoe being the greatest), and all the various forms and sizes there are, I also began to see that there are images of watering cans all around me, on pictures, pillows, and even a pair of socks.

Therefore I, as President, decree that this special census be undertaken so as to ascertain how many watering cans other members of the Society have, if for no other reason than to confirm that I am not alone in having more than one watering can around the garden and house and desiring to have a few more, ‘just in case’.

Unfortunately, the Society has no funds to appropriate to hire actual watering can census takers, so each member is asked to honestly and without delay complete their own census and report in on their numbers to me, your self-proclaimed President. This reporting can be by whatever means is most convenient for the members, including email, comment, or your own blog post.

I shall complete my own census in the next day or so, wanting to take a little extra time to ensure as accurate a count as possible.

Yours truly,
President of the Society for the Preservation and Propagation of Old-Time Gardening Wisdom, Lore, and Superstition (SPPOTGWLS or “the Society”)
Head Gardener at May Dreams Gardens


  1. Ok. I have 4 actual watering cans actually used for watering and also 4 empty windshield wiper bottles used to water street containers.

  2. I, lame gardener that I am, have only 2 watering cans; one for outside and a little one for indoor plants. I also have been known to dump water out of waterbottles and pour water directly from the bucket into which I dumped the dehumidifier water. (I know, I'm a bad gardener, but my superwell-drained soil can take it.) My kids, by contrast, have about 3 or 4 little watering cans each. I'm sure why...

  3. Hi Madame Pres., I can do this one easily. I have one real watering can that gets used for watering plants with real water. I have several if not tens of several of decorative type watering devices that merely collect dust and spiderwebs, inside, in the shed or outside. I may have watering can earrings, no wait, those are pruners. I know I have watering can ornaments that hang. And I used to kind of collect them, but they are not useful for various reasons, like holes in the bottom. In the greenhouse I have a coiled hose attached to the sink water faucet, so no can needed in there, just spraying, and a drain in the floor, a good thing.

  4. Well I seem to have more watering cans than most gardeners. I have three for outside(but really only use two of them). One is a huge red 3 gallon can that I use a lot in the back gardens. I also have two that I use inside - I have a potted rosemary that needs a drink and when I start seeds I use one can downstairs. I also have several hoses but hate trying to coil them so maybe that is why I have the cans.

  5. Madame President, I have only one, and I'm ashamed to write, it is plastic. I think I need to go to Ebay, don't you? LOL.~~Dee

  6. I have 1 outdoor, 1 indoor, and one beautiful old antique Haws. Red and battered, I cherish it. Although I think that it is on permament loan from my Mom.

    Truly reported on this day.


  7. Well I only have one watering can but my wife (the real garden boss) has four that I know of but she doesn't always tell me about all the tools or knickknacks she brings home!

  8. Madame President:

    The Shibaguyz submit our survey as having one watering can. It is metal and we mainly use it in the summer to water our tomatoes and herbs growing in the planter mounted on our second floor balcony. However, it is currently being used to water the winter garden that is under cloche. It acts as both rain catcher as well as a vessel for the rain water collected in other containers.

    While we only possess the one, it is a hard worker and a great helper in our gardening.

    Please let the record show that the Shibaguyz have responded thusly (did we just make that word up??) in all honesty and with solemn truthfulness.

  9. I have three - one large outside one, and two smaller inside ones (though I no longer have any inside plants). I go for plastic because of the weight, and I am a small person, but I would love to have the old-fashioned metal ones.

    Always Growing

  10. Madame Prez!

    Piping in here, I have 2 watering cans, one in front, and one in back. The one in back is for the porch boxes which contain my kitchen herbs, allysum, and calendula. And anything else that wants to wander through and grow. (Just don't squeeze the Golden Crinkle Leafed Oregano, thank-you-very-much!) I ALSO have watering BUCKETS, for deep dunking those pesky plants which I have overlooked and left un-planted, or ignored, or un-watered. Bad Gardener. No biscuits for ME! I have a watering bucket here, a bucket there, here a bucket, there a bucket, everywhere a dunkin' bucket. Then INSIDE, I have a carafe for the living plants' watering needs, an old blender for just-in-case, a new tupperware pitcher which has been abscounded with to the West Window Arboreum, and several coffee cups for emergencies.

    Knowing that there can never be too many watering cans, I remain, your happy gardener


  11. This is an easy count for me. I have two. One indoor watering can and one outdoor watering can for the veggie garden (the ornamentals must fend for themselves). I couldn't imagine needing more, but I confess I do occasionally water my indoor plant (yes only one) with a cup of water or tea that I didn't finish.

  12. It took me a minute, but I have four - one for the backyard that lives out there, one for indoor plants that lives in the kitchen, one tiny metal one from Ikea that used to be for houseplants until I got too many of them and is now a toy for my niece and nephew when they come over (it makes a great drum!) and one that I just found cleaning out the garage that must have belonged to a prior owner of this abode.

    I will also admit to using a blender full of water to water houseplants and the occasional outdoor planter with when I was desperate.

  13. I have four, three large ones & a small one that would be great for houseplants or small container plantings. One won't fit in the top of my water barrels because of the spout hence the other two.

  14. I have 3. Two ugly plastic ones live in the garage/garden and are used there. One pretty ceramic one is decorative and used in my kitchen to hold wooden spoons and what-not. But it actually could function, so it counts.

  15. Most of our water cans are 5 gal. buckets with drane hole in the bottom with a small value to turn on at the trees or plants. We have about five.

  16. Watering cans on SOCKS, Carol? Come on! They're a great gift idea and I'd buy them for you :o)

    I have two watering cans - one metal with a nice spout and the other plastic one is a piece of junk. I only use the nice one. I rely on my handy garden hose for most everything.

  17. Florida reporting Madame President... I have one official watering can and it is exactly like the one you have featured in this post but a little more dinged up.

    Although, I have to admit I bought it because it was adorable and I also confess that I hardly ever use it.

    Oh, and there are two kid-sized cans my grandkids LOVE to fill up and help with watering my veggie garden.

    BUCKETS are much more useful around here if there is going to be an implement used for watering.

    HOSES dragged to the back 40 and everywhere in between is the tool of choice around here. It's just faster and more efficient in my garden.

  18. For actual use-2. For decoration, well let's just say several. My kitchen is decorated in tulips and watering cans. So I have several small metal, small ceramic and some larger metal ones. I even have a couple candles in the shape of watering cans. My choise of waterers is 5 gallon buckets. It takes fewer trips to water the big planters. I am curious to see how the cencus turns out Madame President.

  19. I was going to wait until tomorrow to post a reply after I've counted my watering can "collection" but my 26 year old daughter is here, and laughed at the title of your hoe blog. I showed her your hoes, and told her I forgot to tell the person who showed her hoes I was glad she did, because I plan to copy the two of you soon, and show mine. I think I'll take some pics of my watering cans, too, and post them on my blog, and I'll come back here and see if I can remember how to post a link in my comments!

    I love your wit, Madame President!

  20. Madam President, I want to report to the Society that I have One big blue plastic watering can, one small white watering can that are used regularly. I have a watering can necklace,and a couple of watering can ornaments. So that makes two actual watering cans and three ornamental watering cans.

    For the most part I am a hose girl. Hosing things down in the summer. Showering plants in the bathtub during winter. Watering can only used on the plants too large to lug into the the bathroom or kitchen sink.

  21. Three. But one is still at the old house right now.

  22. He Carol, Nice Blogg and Information.

  23. Hi Carol, this is the first time ever I came by on this blog, via Bliss...
    Great! I counted the containers that really are in use, in fact it's only two (one for inside, one for outside use). Funny and extraordinary thing to read how other people use to work!!
    Those socks are great!

  24. Madam President;
    As a SPPOTGWLS supporter from Wales - I am pleased to report that I have 4 Watering cans.
    A lovely red Haws, which I use for watering.
    The plastic varieties are:-
    A small one - for seedlings
    A green one for feeding plants
    and a red one for nematodes.
    Well that's the theory - but the fact is I grab whichever is closest, usually the Haws because it is the nicest in an Old Fashioned kind of way.

  25. Watering can, what watering can, Madame President? I must admit I don't have one as I'm in the habit of using a wand to water plants. I do have a lot of colorful pitchers that I use in my indoor garden.

  26. I have 3 plastic watering cans outside - more utilitarian than beautiful.

    There are 2 small watering cans in the garage for the kids - mostly they water their shoes.

    I have 2 watering cans in the house - one upstairs and one downstairs.

    That reminds me - I have to water the house plants now. Thanks.

  27. I have to admit to zero watering cans. The garden either gets rain or the hose, and the plants in the porch gets the recycled kitchen water. The indoor plants gets ice from drinks. LOL

  28. I have to admit I almost always use the hose...it's so much easier! But i do have a fairly new beautiful metal watering can my dad got my for my birthday...because i always wanted a real watering can. And I have two mostly decorative ones and an old spatterware pitcher that used to be the thing I used. Inside I carry plants to the sink and use a big measuring cup.

  29. I have three watering cans. One has a little tiny hole in it and I use it only for transporting water about 5 feet from my waterbarrel to the little rose bush beside one of the outbuildings. The other two are used, respectivally, for the front and back porches of the house. Everything else is watered by the hose.

  30. Madam President, I have 3, 2 large and 1 small for inside. I usually use a hose for watering but I prefer to use a watering can. More personnel attention for the plants (I only water plants in post and when planting).

    Hoping to get a new water butt - which will mean a new watering can - a water butt deserves its own can!

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

  31. I have 3 -- one large, plastic green one that I like to use to water everything in the front of the house;
    one smaller blue metal one (it's teal, really), and a shiny silver one with a long spout (best for the african violets)....

    Other items used for watering:
    buckets, old OJ/Milk jugs, a Nalgene bottle, large glasses, etc.

    I try to find a watering can, but sometimes that's not so easy.

  32. It's time someone undertook this important issue. I have 2 plastic outdoor ones by the water collection barrels, one blue elephant shaped one that I let visiting children use, and 2 metal old fashioned looking ones...one is broken and I've put a plant in it, couldn't bring myself to throw it out!

  33. Alas, I have only 2, sadly plastic and ugly, watering cans. I tend to use hoses and I've a home made irrigation system for some of the beds. The other garden beds get soaker hoses, and the lawn (the few times it's watered) gets a sprinkler.

    Fortunately, it often rains enough and often enough for watering all my plants to be an occasional chore.

    Although, I do use a bucket to dip water out of the pond when the nitrates and nitrites build up (it's only 50 gallons and the fish are messy eaters) and I use that to water select garden plants that need a shot of nitrogen.

  34. Oh, I have many watering cans. Probably six or seven. I will go count them. I finally have a bloom week post. Better late than never!

  35. I see I may be the only one to do my answer on my blog, but didn't get all the comments read yet, as I am supposed to be helping my daughter move. Here is the link to my blog:

    Sue's Watering Cans

    If this works, I am thanking Kim, Blackswamp Girl

  36. Madame President, Here in north Texas, I must have at least six watering cans. These are used to haul rain water from the barrel to the plants. BTW, are you aware of the recent sock situations? You watering can socks might be inflammatory.

  37. Hey Carol-

    Like you, I have four watering cans--two indoors and two outdoors. One of the indoor cans gets most of the work. The second also waters the piano humidifier when not in use as a watering can.

    Outdoors I have a nice metal one that stayed outside too long one winter and warped at the bottom. It is a bit leaky as a result, but is still nominally functional.

    My favorite outdoor can is a big plastic red Haws watering can with a rose. It is perfectly balanced and I love it. I must remember to bring it in before winter sets in for earnest.

    National Gardening Examiner
    Blogging at Bumblebeeblog.com

  38. Well, there's one real watering can, made of gavinized metal and used all the time, one that spills water when your pour it so it's now a flowerpot, and a handy little gadget that fits on milk cartons that I use indoors, with multiple milk cartons (so does that count as more than one).
    No socks, earrings or Christmas decorations that I can think of.

  39. I have only 1 large, plastic watering can that I use outdoors (on my deck)--but it's really just used occasionally. The HOSE is my main watering source in the summer, mainly because it's the easiest for me to use. I can minimize it to a tiny dribble if need be (for a small container) or maximize it and shoot it out into the garden from my deck. It's just an all-around-watering-device!

    However, in the interest of counting cans, I have 2 copper can that I keep around the house. These were used a LOT last year, when I was keeping African Violets on my window-sill. The violets took a beating though, by my mischief-making kitty, so they are long gone. I got tired of nursing them and of cleaning up kitty throw-up (because eating them inevitably caused that and it's not nice to deal with!).

    Those 2 cans are kind of decorative so they are sitting on the bottom shelf of my bakers rack right now. Sometime's I've put dried or silk flowers in them.

    Well, I wrote all of this earlier today and had planned to take a few photos of my (3) watering cans and make a blog post out of it...but after looking at Sue's huge assortment (!) I think I'll just blow off that idea!!


  40. zip. nada. zero. that's what hoses and buckets are for. Damn Skippy.

  41. Madame President, the hoses are needed for most watering, but there are a lot of small plants that need gentle or more frequent watering.
    I keep two Rubbermaid-type watering cans filled and ready, one on the front porch and one near the patio.

    I don't have fancy watering cans for the houseplants. Philo made rain-bottles out of empty mouthwash containers by drilling small holes in the caps.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  42. I have 3: an outdoor one, an indoor one, and a decorative one.


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