Spout Off


Alien Encounters: Pipe Dreams by Magis, $63, Emmo Home. It may look otherworldly, but this vessel was actually designed for human hands.


Old-World Charm: $60, Nest. The weathered elegance of this vintage
piece evokes the gardens of Beatrix Potter.


Planar Approach: Kwi by Alessi, $52, by special order at Bliss Home. Only the Italians would think to offer these two storage options: slim and upright or long and low.


Organ-ic: Plastec, $7, Russell’s Garden Center. With its rounded body and rich hue, this little guy resembles a heart—the perfect expression of your love for the garden.

THE SUN IS HIGH, the air is warm, and across New England seven million vegetable-gardening enthusiasts have grabbed their trowels and started digging. Green thumbs have even found a place in the city of Boston, thanks to swaths of greenery like the Emerald Necklace, 40-plus community gardens, and countless window boxes in the South End, Back Bay, Charlestown, and everywhere in between. We garden for food, for exercise, and, sometimes, just for a little face time with nature. (Nearly 50 million FarmVille fanatics even garden online, planting digital banana trees next to oat fields without ever breaking a sweat.

You’d think, then, that local stores would stock scads of stylish gardening implements—especially the most important one of all: the watering can.

Sadly, no.

Most stores around here carry practical but boring watering cans, or none at all. In fact, coming up with 10 different stunners for this article turned into a major scavenger hunt. But with a little work, we managed to dig up quite a collection.

Then we went a-watering. (Little-known fact: There are currently 19 ornamental potted plants in Boston Home’s office lobby. At the moment, most of them are slightly overwatered.)

Turns out, every can has its strengths. The vintage copper vessel from Nest, for example, with its long, narrow spout, is best suited to small, dense plants and in-the-brush spot treatments. More-traditional styles with large bodies and wide spouts, like the OXO Good Grips and the orange-steel can from Mahoney’s Garden Center, are better applied to low, small-leaved, thirsty plants. (A five-liter can weighs almost 11 pounds when it’s at capacity—not easy on the wrist if you’re reaching high.) The bulbous Pipe Dreams by Magis posed a challenge when empty; it fell over at the slightest nudge. But when full, it was steady and light enough for prolonged use. Born in Sweden’s watering can with tube—the only model that requires an instructional diagram—isn’t good for anything higher than waist-level plants, but it’s fun to use on the down-low and looks great on the shelf. Our personal favorite, Alessi’s sporty Kiwi can (it can be special-ordered from Bliss Home), is an easy, all-purpose watering tool, which, as a bonus, can be stored both vertically and horizontally.

Gardening doesn’t have to be done in style, but where watering cans are concerned, form does not need to come at the expense of function.


Mini Me: Garden Essentials Mini, $4, NYBG Shop. Tiny, yes, but with a light tank and long spout, it’s exactly the tool you need for overhead watering.


Greener Pastures: $3, Target. Continuous lines and lightweight
plastic make this jug as easy on the eyes as it is to use. 


By Design: Born in Sweden by Pascal Charmolu, $75, Sprout Home. Jarring at first, the flexible rubber hose turns out to be a grower’s delight.


At its Peak: AquaStar by Eva Solo, $49, Emmo Home. For the modern gardener, a thoroughly contemporary can, complete with a shiny silver nozzle. 


Handy-Dandy: OXO Good Grips, $10–$25, Institute for Human Centered Design. This little container is a paragon of ergonomic design that can also be easily stored, thanks to its swiveling spout.

All photographs by Todd Dionne