Pump it up, in the garden
Finding a vintage pump is exciting for a Flea Market gardener! You can simply set them on an old table or stump or use them in an elaborate water feature or pond.
Water is natural to have in the garden, and here at Flea Market Gardening, we love ‘old,’ so vintage pumps fit right in!
Since the inside part is hollow, the pond pump hose can thread right through. You can also simply set one up to look as if it can pump water into a container of water or flowers!
Find pumps at Flea Markets, or at antique junkyards that sell farm machinery, antiques and tools like Jeanne did. Usually there will also be pumps! Occasionally, you might find one at a yard sale or an estate sale. Ask friends, or make it known you like garden junk…that’s how I acquired mine.
Red pump, blue pump, yellow and green
Pumps can be found in all colors, and the preferred finish is a color that has not been repainted. If the pump is too new or you love to paint, go ahead!
Loretta Fuller says, “Here’s my pump and barrel. Those sweet potato vines have gone crazy this summer. They are now touching the ground!”
Cherrie Carine says, “Rusty bucket and pump. It has been on my farm for forty years, and it was on my parents farm before that…..It is slowly crumbling away but I will use it to the very end! Love my garden treasures and I love rust!”
How to make a vintage pump pond
A classic way to display one is set it up next to a half whiskey barrel or galvanized tub and hook up a pump to spill into it.
Carol Schickert says, “Here is our old granite horse trough, discovered during major road renovations. We were fortunate to have a company truck with a lift, drop it off on side of driveway, where it stayed –too heavy to move. We filled with dirt, planted an assortment of flowers around it and attached a Flea Market hand pump. Ferns and hostas have engulfed it and helped it blend in.
The whole thing measures 64″ L x 36″ W x 20″ high. The side walls are 6″ thick. The inside of the trough is 24″W x 36″ L.
Originally we had plumbing hooked to the pump with fish in the trough. There is a spout in the bottom edge where we put a rock filled catch basin and re-circulated the water back up to the pump. However, it was too hard to keep clean enough for the fish. So we planted it instead.”
Cheryl York says, “Kaleb and little brother Korben are waiting patiently for our resident frog, (Fred) to make an appearance in the little pool of water in the garden.”
“I re-did one of my water features,” Kirk Willis says “…spray painted the metal pump a cobalt blue…I love cobalt blue! The frog and round moss balls came from a Terry’s Village catalog … I placed two glass Christmas ornaments in the water with rocks from our property. It was fun to put it all together.”
“This hand pump provided water in our 1936 cottage in northern Michigan,” Lynne Mclean says, “now it keeps the frogs happy in my water garden at home!”
- Use a whiskey barrel pond insert if the barrel isn’t water tight. Or, line your barrel with a pond liner, staple it close to the top rim and trim off any excess.
- Find a small pond pump at the hardware or garden store.
- Mount the pump on a board across the side of the barrel or tub or on a post next to it.
- Set a fountain pump in the pond and thread the pump tubing through the vintage pump, hiding it with stones. Plug in the fountain pump and you’re done!
- Fill the tub or barrel with a pot of iris, water lilies, canna or other water plants.
If your electric plugs are far from your pump set up, try one of the new solar pumps
Pouring out blooms…
“I went to the antique flea market yesterday,” Marie Niemann says, “ and bought this cool old hand pump! I stuck a rod in my big metal planter to sit it on. Just planted the happy flowers today, they’ll be pretty when they fill out more.”
Jeanne Sammons says, “I bought this old rusty red pump knowing that I wanted it for my old claw bathtub on the path to my Secret Garden. So today ‘DH’ (darlin’ hubby) found an old rusty pipe (from his junk stash) and attached it to the pump which we slid over an iron rod pounded into the ground.”
Nancy K. Meyer’s daughter’s pump, was a gift from her boyfriend for Christmas.
Wanda Bailey says “This old pump works great to re-circulate the water in our pond.”
Annie Steen says, “I almost passed on this pump,…I didn’t want to spend the money…but was glad I did when we put the pond in. It worked out perfectly to keep our pond filtered, …water goes through a charcoal filter then through the pump and back into the pond.”
“When I saw this green beauty behind a shopping center last winter,” Stephie McCarthy says, “hidden partly by the fallen leaves, I fretted until my husband went back and carried it out for me. It weighs a lot with its bent pipe attached!”
“I’ve given my husband the ‘bug’ for Flea Market Gardening with my treasure hunting. I plan to use this at an old house I am restoring, attached to a piece of pump that still remains in that garden, complete with drip effect.”
Dawn Wood “My pump being swallowed up by my Hostas and Japanese Maple. We had to buy the farm to get this pump!”