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Hi, there!

Just over two years ago, we bought our first home - a 1925 Colonial Revival that had been a rental property for 20+ years!

The back yard had been used for extra parking, and when we moved in, you could still see the outline of all the cars marked out in dead grass rectangles!

Imagine our dismay (and trepidation!) when we unearthed a rotting trunk full of "something heavy" buried in the back corner of the property our first summer here - luckily, it was only someone's way of disposing of old rusty auto parts, but it sure gave us a scare!

Our home dates back to the wild days of Prohibition during Detroit's Roaring Twenties era, and with Al Capone, trans-Canada rum runners, and the Purple Gang all venturing through our neighborhood once-upon-a-time, you just never know...

We are now on our third summer of reclaiming this beautiful property - just digging up all the old beer bottles and pulling all the overgrown weeds has taken such a long time! And now all our hard work is beginning to pay off! :-)

We now have an almost clean slate - and a wonderful bonus has been that all the vintage plantings that had been covered by layer upon layer of unraked leaves and whatnot have again started popping up, and even flourishing!

Now we just have to identify what we already have, keeping what appears to have come with the original gardens here, and adding to them to make a 1925-themed Colonial garden and yard again.

Just imagine the garden parties that our house must have shared - the Charleston, flappers, Model T's, and bathtub gin - afterall, our home was the first house built in our neighborhood, and was located at the end of the old Detroit trolley line back when "anything goes"!

Elderly neighbors have told us wonderful stories (told to them by their parents) about all the goings-on back in the day, so we imagine that our garden has indeed seen a lot!

One neighbor, now in her 70's, told us that the Pink Dawn climbing rose that is still flourishing on the trellis beside our big front porch was given to the original lady of the house as a gift by our neighbor's mother, when our neighbor was just a toddler herself. That makes us happy.

It is wonderful to discover the history of our plants here, and we also welcome heirloom family plants from your own gardens that might need a loving new home.

We value the history of these plant, as well as the beauty and function. Our garden and our home are part of our family.

During the long winter months here in Michigan, we work on renovating the inside of our home - the poor thing just seemed to hug us during our initial walkthrough with the realtor, and we could almost hear it begging, "Please don't make me be a rental anymore!" :-)

Oak hardwood floors throughout both the upstairs and downstairs, all the original wide board oak trim and original doors and windows (still snug - imagine!), with plaster walls and ceilings that are just a little worse for wear with time - and we constantly ask ourselves, "Why on Earth did some renter decide to paint the floor-to-ceiling handcarved oak fireplace mantel a sickly shade of purple???!!!"

Funny, though, how something that you'd planned to fix the moment you moved in has a way of sliding way down your To-Do list as things like plumbing repairs and dead tree removal suddenly rear their ugly heads!

While we still plan to restore "Ol' Purp", we hardly notice him anymore - and you know you're in trouble when you give something a nickname!

In between all our projects, we plan and dream of gardening. :-)

Since we are new to all this, any ideas or suggestions for our vintage-style 1925 garden would be most welcome, and we are always looking for appropriate plants to add to our semi-historical (and sometimes hysterical!) "work-in-progress".

We have two rollicking Yellow Labs (one a squatty-legged Bassett Hound/Lab mix named "Shadow", and the other a shooting-off-in-all-directions-at-once Greyhound/Lab mix named "Shade") who like to "help" with the gardening, and the while our cats prefer to stay indoors, the neighborhood cats (and birds and squirrels) are always welcome here and have free roam of our property, so we are trying to avoid any noxious or toxic plants, for obvious reasons.

Please take a look at my Trade List - we might be able to swap some of our plants, if someone with expertise will guide us through. And since we are obviously beginners and do-it-yourselfers, any guidance would be a good thing! :-)

Smiles to all,
Jana and Paul
Raventoo
Royal Oak, Michigan (northern suburban Detroit)

:-) "Because Nice Matters" :-)

P.S. We urge anyone who is house-hunting to try to see past the cosmetic challenges and give the old fixer-upper former rental houses a chance - they are usually quite affordable, they are soundly constructed, they make wonderful family homes, and they are truly diamonds in the rough! :-)

I live in: United States

My zone is: z6a/z5b S.E. MI

My favorite forum 1 is Plant Exchange.

My favorite forum 2 is Seed Exchange.

First registered on June 16, 2003 .