According to William Bryant Logan in “The Tool Book“,
“The watering can looks like an ancient tool, but the first mention of it in the Oxford English Dictionary dates only from 1692. More than a decade later, a garden writer was still compelled to explain just what the tool was: “It imitates the rain falling from the Heavens,” he noted. “When being bended down it spouts forth water thro’ a thousand holes, in a sort of Head that’s made to it.””
Can you imagine having to be told how to use a watering can? Now over 300 years later, I think most of us gardeners “get it” when it comes to watering cans and based on the ongoing watering can census, we aren’t shy about owning more than one.
We also know that the “Head that’s made to it” is actually called a “rose”.
What are the other parts of a watering can called?
I could not find a reference to name the various parts of a watering can, so I decided to provide a diagram with all the parts labeled.
Spout, spout brace, carrying handle, pouring handle, cover, vessel… yawn, that all seems pretty obvious and boring. And those part names don’t really seem to go with the idea of a ‘rose’, the true business end of a watering can.
So finding no other references to explain watering cans any differently, I’ve decided to take some liberties, and name the parts of a watering can so they’ll match “rose”.Now we have:
Xylem, instead of spout for the part the water flows through.
Root instead of brace, because a root really braces a plant in the ground.
Tendril instead of carrying handle and limb instead of pouring handle.
Canopy instead of cover.
Melon instead of vessel.
What do you think? Do you think these watering can part names have staying power, or should we just stick with “rose” and leave the other parts unnamed?
Or do you perhaps wonder if this is going to be a long winter, if my idle time is going to be used to come up with posts like this one, where I’m suggesting we rename everything? (Well, not everything, just the parts of a watering can… so far.)
And where did the name “rose” come from anyway?