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Growing Up at English Gardens

June 23 marks the 68th anniversary of English Gardens. When co-founders and brothers-in-law John Darin Sr., Andrew Donatiello, and Henry Vespa acquired English Gardens in Dearborn Heights in 1954, they were looking for a way to better provide for their families. And since that day, family has been the heart and soul of this company. From welcoming in the next generation of family members who join the business, to treating those long-standing employees as one of their own, one core value of English Gardens is its people.

Keeping it in the family

For more than six decades, family has been a central part in running the business.  Currently, 10 second-generation, and four third-generation family members work at English Gardens.

John Darin Jr., son of John Darin Sr. and President of English Gardens, was the first of the founders’ children to join the company.

“As a child, I worked at the store to spend time with my father,” says John Jr.  “I would stay later than everybody else to sweep the floors, stock the shelves and take inventory.  I was weaned on the family business and couldn’t imagine working anywhere else.”

John was joined by his sister Debbie and cousin Linda Vespa. From there the second generation slowly found their way into the business — filling roles and helping out while still going to school, or coming back after college to join the company full-time. Even in-laws marrying into the family couldn’t resist the allure of this growing company and left their own careers to be a part of English Gardens.

Through hard work and dedication, English Gardens has grown to be an industry leader. With six retail locations offering a full-service nursery, garden center, and florist as well as a full-service landscape design and installation company with two locations.

The Next Generation

As the newest generation of English Gardens family members are ushered in, they are learning the ropes from the bottom up just as their parents did. They take pride in the company and hope to be part of its growth in the future.

Tyler Vespa, son of VP Rick Vespa, is a third-generation family member who has worked as a Sales Associate for the past 13 years. He’s currently a Manager-in-Training in Royal Oak. He says watching his family work so hard at a business they loved rubbed off on him.

“I really grew into this role. I started part-time not knowing if I would make a career out of it. But the more time I spend here, the more I love it,” Tyler says.  “Watching my dad and uncles work so hard created great morale. It makes me feel good to contribute to that.”

Johnny Darin, son of VP Dean Darin, is also a third-generation family member and works as the Operations Manager in Plymouth. Johnny started working at English Gardens right out of High School, and knows he will be here for the long haul.

“The best part of this job is the people. The people I work with and the customers. I love providing great customer service,” Johnny said. “I would love to build my career in the stores so I can continue to work with people.”

Gracie Vespa, daughter of VP Rick Vespa, another third-generation member, is the Marketing and Events Coordinator and the host of our Let’s Grow Series. She says she never fully understood what her grandfather and great-uncles had built until she was an adult.

“The scope of this is hard to grasp as a kid. Moving out of state and seeing smaller garden centers made me fully understand how special English Gardens is.” Gracie said. “I am excited to be a part of it and help catapult the company into the next era.”

Rachel Darin, daughter of English Gardens President John Darin Jr, is a Merchandise Manager in Training, and the newest member of the third generation to join the team. She says she is excited to finally be a part of the business and is eager to learn what it all entails.

“I’m looking forward to continuing the hard work that my dad and my family have done through the 3rd and 4th generations.”

Growing up at English Gardens

Growing up in a family-run business made for some quality time with relatives and some great childhood memories.

Gracie remembers the stores feeling like a museum when she was little.

“Going to the store was always so magical. It was special. My mom would let me pick something before we left. I always chose a bouquet of Gerbera Daisies,” Gracie says. “The smell of the stores brings me back to being a little kid.”

Johnny remembers visiting stores with his grandpa, John Darin Sr.

“I got to help him. He would take me in the truck from store to store and we would ‘solve problems’. I got to help him fix and build things, and we would help the stores out however we could,” Johnny said.

Rachel remembers her grandfather, John Darin Sr. always working alongside the other associates.

“My best memory growing up is seeing my grandfather watering flowers next to me at the West Bloomfield store,” Rachel said.

Tyler will never forget the massive family dinners after English Gardens events.

“Every year after Christmas Open House we would all go out to dinner. It was fun to be with aunts, uncles and cousins to celebrate the new selling season,” Tyler said.

As we celebrate our 68th Anniversary, we also celebrate the families that have dedicated so much to this labor of love. Especially John Darin Sr. who passed away in 2018, Andrew Donatiello who retired in 1970, and Henry Vespa who passed away in 1990, who started it all. We are looking forward to what the future brings.

Read more about the 3rd generation and what it is like carrying on the family legacy. 

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English Garden Nurseries & Garden Centers Serve the Greater Clinton Twp., Dearborn Heights, Royal Oak, West Bloomfield, Eastpointe, and Plymouth Ann Arbor Michigan Areas

Providing garden centers complete with full service landscaping, seasonal holiday stores including their enchanting Christmas Stores, and most locations even offer a full service in house florist

English Gardens Detroit MI area nurseries & garden centers are not only the areas largest garden nurseries, but they offer the largest selection of products and services found anywhere in the Clinton Twp., Dearborn Heights, Royal Oak, West Bloomfield, Eastpointe, and Plymouth Ann Arbor Michigan regions providing full service garden centers, full service landscaping and landscape design, seasonal holiday stores including their enchanting Christmas Stores, the largest selection of Patio Furniture in Michigan, and most locations even offer a full service in house florist for flower arrangements for every day as well as those special occasions such as wedding flowers, event flowers, sympathy and funeral flower arrangements, prom flowers, and more!

Our nurseries and garden centers have the areas largest selection of plants, flowers, shrubs, annuals, perennials, and patio furniture. Garden supplies are in abundance, with everything from garden tools and accessories, to garden and potting soil, mulches, bagged garden stone, pots and so much more. We have everything you need for your outdoor gardening needs.

Landscaping? Count on the professional landscape contractors and designers at English Gardens to Make Your Property Beautiful! We offer both DIY landscaping assistance and full service landscape design and construction with our in house landscaping company.

Our floral designers can create perfect floral arrangements for weddings, events, funerals, proms and the like. Make the moment beautiful.

Our Christmas Stores in addition to being one of the areas best holiday experiences, are filled with live and life-like artificial Christmas trees, including flocked artificial Christmas trees, including those sometimes hard to come by 9 foot flocked artificial Christmas trees, Christmas lights, decorations, Christmas wreaths & garland of all types, and unique gifts, all on display for your enjoyment. Make the Holiday beautiful!

English Gardens store by store offerings in the Clinton Twp., Dearborn Heights, Royal Oak, West Bloomfield, Eastpointe, and Plymouth Ann Arbor Michigan areas;

Clinton Twp. Garden Centers:

Dearborn Heights Garden Center:

Royal Oak Garden Center:

West Bloomfield Garden Center:

Eastpointe Garden Center:

Plymouth Ann Arbor Garden Center:

Be sure to visit any one of our Garden Centers for the largest selection of products and services the area has to offer. If you have any questions please call one of our stores directly in Clinton Twp., Dearborn Heights, Royal Oak, West Bloomfield, Eastpointe, and Plymouth Ann Arbor Michigan for friendly, prompt help.

Clinton Township, MI

44850 Garfield Rd. at Hall Rd.
Clinton Twp., Michigan 48038

Phone Numbers
Phone: (586) 286-6100
Fax: (586) 286-0033

Dearborn Heights, MI

22650 Ford Rd. at Outer Dr.
Dearborn Heights, Michigan 48127

Phone Numbers
Nursery: (313) 278-4433
Florist: (313) 565-8133
Fax: (313) 278-0459

Eastpointe, MI

22501 Kelly Rd. at Nine Mile Rd.
Eastpointe, Michigan

Phone Numbers
Phone: (586) 771-4200
Fax: (586) 771-4894

Plymouth/Ann Arbor, MI

9900 Ann Arbor Road W.
Plymouth, Michigan

Phone Numbers
Phone: (734) 453-5500

Royal Oak, MI

4901 Coolidge Hwy,
Royal Oak, Michigan

Phone Numbers
Phone: (248) 280-9500
Fax: (248) 280-2688

West Bloomfield, MI

6370 Orchard Lake Rd. at Maple
West Bloomfield Township, Michigan

Phone Numbers
Phone: (248) 851-7506
Fax: (248) 539-4738

Make Life Beautiful! Come to English Gardens Today!

Don’t forget to come visit our enchanted Christmas Stores! We have by far the areas largest display of pre-lit and unlit Christmas trees, both Live and Artificial Life-Like Christmas trees in all sizes and varieties, the areas largest selection of Christmas lights in a variety of lengths, sizes, bulb types including energy efficient, and long lasting ,state of the art, LED Christmas lights, Christmas Garland, Christmas wreaths, Christmas decorations, and that perfect gift for that special someone!

Make Christmas Beautiful! Come to English Gardens This Christmas, It’s Fun For The Whole Family!

When it comes to the holidays other than Christmas, you won’t be disappointed, From July 4th, to Labor Day, Columbus Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, Mothers and Fathers Day and more, you guessed it, you can count on English Gardens to Make the Holiday Beautiful!

Make the Holidays Beautiful! Come to English Gardens!

At the end of the day, we all enjoy putting a smile on our, and other’s faces, come to English Gardens at any one of our convenient locations and Make Today Beautiful!

Make Today Beautiful! Come to English Gardens!

Christmas at English Gardens

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