Do you live in an old house? What have you found?

Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)July 16, 2013

When I moved here 6 years ago, there were no visible flowering plants of any kind except a few shrubs. Over the years, I've found a ton of bulbs and a few other plants, many found due to drought, that were all getting mowed for years...
Lily bulbs, Lycoris radiata
Gladiolus bulbs
Ornamental allium bulbs
wild garlic, Allium canadense
Amaryllis bulbs
Oxalis crassipes bulbs
Portulaca pilosa
daff bulbs
Lady Banks rose along the back tree/fence line
so many cute little native wildflowers, welcome in the mowed areas!

'Tis the season to find monkey grass, huh? Tony found some in another post, that's my most recent find. I was sitting on the front porch thinking about how the grass is completely covering the concrete block barrier someone stalled on both sides of this yard unknown decades ago... and saw the flowers. Closer inspection revealed that someone also had filled all of the holes with MG and it had gone beyond as well. A couple hours later, I had the equivalent of more than a 5-gallon bucket full of chunks of it that I was sure about being free of grass.

I have also found other interesting things, like a headstone that says "WILSON." And an old property marker rock that was clearly no longer marking any kind of boundary (halfway under the house.) Several concrete curbs of the type used to mark parking spots. A ring that may be silver.

One spot where grass never grew well turned out, after drought, to be the top of an old sewer cover, the big concrete slab type along the curb of a road with, sure enough, brick work under it. Same drought revealed 4 stepping stones at the bottom of the front steps, and parts of a concrete formation that could only have been a koi pond. The current fence goes right over it.

What have you found?

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subtropix

Interesting thread, Purple.

I bought this property several years ago from a family from South Carolina that had lived here for 60 years (house is over 100 years old). I would have to distinguish what I have found and left and what I have found and discarded.

Found and discarded:

Lots and lots of Yews, including their stumps (yews are deer food here)
Corroded metal trellis and grapes growing on them
Barberry (I just hate them, so do deer which is why they are planted)
An overgrown hedge of viburnum and privet
More privet
A maple tree growing too close to the house
A bed of English ivy that was beginning to suffocate others shrubs and trees

What I left or learned to deal with...

An island planting of large, healthy Eastern Hemlocks (no adelgid)
A very large Japanese Holly
A towering coral pink rose that will only feed giraffe (not the deer)
Lots of Spring daffodils on one side of the house (to which I added Yucca and hardy cacti)
A mosaic tile in the backyard with initials and the year 1944
An area in the back were cement was deposited (would be nice for a fire pit but it is public property)

I have added a lot of trees and shrubs, but that is the topic of another thread.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 5:38PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

That's fascinating stuff, read your post twice now.

Guess there's not as much amateur archaeology going on out there as I thought...?

We've been watching a show about 2 wacky guys with metal detectors and it makes me want to (watch DH) find what metal objects might be found here. A couple people have told me they think an old general store used to be somewhere around this part of the street (which used to be in a slightly different place.)

"Found and discarded" - LOL! I'm in the process of trying to discard some Nandina. It wasn't hard to find, hated it instantly when I moved here, but mangling it often isn't making it go away. This year I decided I could no longer stomach even the more-attractive short, vigorous appearance and mangled like I meant it and am smothering also, well light-blocking/baking under a piece of sheet metal. It finally seems truly offended, well, at least I'm sure it noticed. We'll see what happens...

This also reminds me of all of the trash I found and discarded the first couple years. Unidentifiable pieces of rusting metal, broken glass (which I still find often,) broken bits of all kinds of things. For years we mowed carefully around this weird metal pipe sticking up about 5" until DH casually kicked it one day & it just fell over, apparently just stuck there at some point, not part of some gas line system.

My yard and my Mom's yard both have these weird metal pole structures, 2 large upright poles with a smaller one about 3-4 ft wide across the top. Don't know if they're for hanging a swing, beating a rug...? Her house is less than 40 years old but this one is almost 100.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 11:49AM
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rosiew

purple, could your poles be for a clothes line?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 1:39PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Oh, good question, thanks! I forgot to add that both yards have separate clotheslines.

Here's the one in my yard. The clothesline is behind it.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 2:08PM
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rosiew

It's Garden Art - sorta, kinda.

Thanks, Rosie

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 3:00PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

Could have been a trellis for grapevines.
My house only dates to 1972 but the yard is loaded with fully grown azaleas and rhododendrons and a huge gardenia bush.
It was later leased out and I find the odd plantings from a series of tenants.
I mean who would plant a young peony up against a tree trunk in shade for all the sun ? Weird.
I was going to buy myself a bday present of a metal detector. (I watch the same program) But I took a vacation instead. Maybe next bday.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 8:19PM
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jcalhoun(8b Mobile County AL)

It bet it is an old clothes line post. My great grand parents had some wide ones that did double duty as clothes lines and hanging rugs.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 10:53PM
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sara82lee(8a - SE Va)

What an interesting thread! I love old houses! My house was built in the forties, so its not that old, but its old enough to find the occasional surprise. Like coins from the 1800's in a window frame when we replaced the window and a can from the 70's inside a wall we took down from an addition to the house. Maybe the neatest thing was a bullet I found while digging around outside. Neighbors tell me that the neighborhood was the site of a Civil War tent hospital.

It's really profound to think about the people who occupied the land that is now our homes and what may have happened there, isn't it?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 9:58PM
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sara82lee(8a - SE Va)

What an interesting thread! I love old houses! My house was built in the forties, so its not that old, but its old enough to find the occasional surprise. Like coins from the 1800's in a window frame when we replaced the window and a can from the 70's inside a wall we took down from an addition to the house. Maybe the neatest thing was a bullet I found while digging around outside. Neighbors tell me that the neighborhood was the site of a Civil War tent hospital.

It's really profound to think about the people who occupied the land that is now our homes and what may have happened there, isn't it?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 10:04PM
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topsiebeezelbub(z7 Al)

Not much in the way of flowers...during WWII the entire place was ploughed under and it became a sweet potato patch. The house is pre-Civil War and my brother has been all over with a metal detector, but not much here. You can't dig without finding broken glass and pottery...did they throw dishes in the old days? Have an unidentified purple rose, maybe Vielchenblau, some Cherokee roses, some pink and red lycoris, tons of Jackson vines, and lots of wisteria and many huge volunteer trees. Neatest finds were a clay pipe in the shape of an Indian chiefs head and a "G-Man" pen. Still looking for the well.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 1:14AM
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lauriewood(8 SC)

Love this thread! I have found many treasures and oddities in my yard. Most recently, a clump of red and yellow spider lillies that I believe my boyfriend must have weed eaten every year until now. An old concrete pink flamingo embedded in a tree trunk while clearing thickets. The equivalent of a truckload of pavers and river rock buried in the dirt. I keep finding them as I dig new beds. I keep stacking them. Think I have enough to build a patio around my veggie bed in the side yard.
On the odder side, 2 adult teeth (on separate occasions), and a black cabbage patch doll.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 7:47AM
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rosiew

So glad purple started this. I've loved reading your stories.

Don't have an old house, but daughter nearby does. I was tickled to find chunks of coal in the side yard, which once fueled the many fireplaces in their 1915 home.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 8:57AM
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browneyedsusan_gw(8a)

My home was built in 1993 so not much to find apart from general construction rubbish. However, while digging in my flower bed I came across a stone spear head-it definitely looks man made.
Susan

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 1:15PM
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ourhighlandhome

My house was built in 1916 as a parsonage for the United Methodist-Episcopal South Church. No real owners - just transient ministers, so nothing interesting garden-wise. The most interesting features are an intricately-designed 15-ft.-deep cistern, and the brickwork of 3 chimneys that serve 6 fireplaces.

I tilled most of the flower beds and ran across enough broken dishes and silverware to conclude that many a bad meal was served here over the decades! Also beds of used coal, garbage and antique bottles, even a piece of petrified wood.

For reasons unknown to me, I found many old and very small horseshoes. Also found a silver Deutsche Mark minted in nazi Germany (complete with nazi symbol imprinted on front).

But my very best find was while tilling up the front yard for sodding. Underneath several inches of soil I discovered a ruby Mason's ring. Many months later I found the owner. He was in his late 70's and had lost it while roofing the house several decades ago. He replaced the ring some time after losing it, but "retired" the replacement after getting the original ring back. He sacked groceries at the local grocery store and always raised his hand to my face to let me know he was wearing the original ring whenever I came in.

In short, I love my old home so much that almost everything I have unearthed goes on display!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 9:46PM
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rosiew

Great stories, Nelson. Perhaps a farrier can tell you what the horse shoes were made to fit. Thinking maybe the smaller shoes were used by kids for a child sized game of horse shoes.

The Masonic ring was meant to be found, otherwise the tiller would have dented it beyond recognition. Such a happy thing that you found the original owner.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 8:57AM
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topsiebeezelbub(z7 Al)

Oh I had forgotten about the pony shoes. They were found under the livingroom when we lifted some floor boards...we assumed they were a good luck charm...they live on the kitchen hearth now. We have several special bricks that have the hand print of the maker or a paw print from a long ago dog or cat. There was once a 5 car garage (a previous owner had 5 Stutz Bearcats) and servant's quarters but they were torn down in the Depression and the bricks sold, but some of the old brick floor was buried under dirt and now serve as a patio. A later owner had a music store and when he closed it in 1929 he brought lots of big crank record players home and put them in a shed...by the time we got here they were just bit and pieces. When the shed was torn down cannas popped up...after all those years!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 5:38PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

These are fascinating anecdotes! Thanks to each person for sharing!

...found a pop top in my Mom's yard yesterday. (No, I didn't step on it, or cut my heel.)

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 9:08AM
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