The tub that came out of the old bathroom has been sitting out the back collecting leaves and water for a while. Time to integrate it into the bank and plant it up with succulents. The ground is rocky and an old concrete septic tank is buried below. It is the deepest part of the small cut that was made when the house was built and the tank went only part way into the ground then covered to make this bank. The alternative was blasting the rock that is not far below the surface here. Nothing much will grow in this spot, hence the need for a container garden. My first job is to clear out the scrappy marjoram and erigeron, trim the box and move the succulents that still grow in an earlier tub garden.
This one was in a half wine barrel, but all that remains is a hoop, the staves are long gone.
I rescued the plants and the top layer of soil that was quite good, then had to dig down through the roots of the nearby quince trees to get the first metal band out.
At this point the dirt is full of roots and is completely exhausted. Because of the trees I used a trowel to get down further to find the lower band of the barrel. When I finally found it, completely buried below roots and stones I half expected Tony Robinson to bounce around the corner exclaiming about the ingenuity of iron age britons and the sophistication and skill shown in the riveted joint.
Then I remembered that this is the wrong hemisphere for such a discovery, and this barrel is a 20th century artefact although the construction technique is much older. I have discovered recently that my great great great grandfather was a cooper in various towns on the River Orwell, Suffolk in the early 1800s. I however have only a little idea of how a waterproof container can be made from wood and metal.
My genuine find is much more satisfying. A beautiful big Eastern Banjo frog, known as a Pobblebonk because of their call, had dug itself into the good soil at the top of the barrel. It was quite puffed up when I first saw it, don’t know who got the biggest shock, but it quickly settled down, posed for the photo then hopped away. Earlier I had seen a much smaller frog or toadlet, but it was too quick to get a good look at it.