The Garden Club of DeLand has honored Barbara and Harland Merriam as having the July Garden of the Month for their daylily and butterfly gardens.
The Merriams returned to DeLand from Texas, and moved into their renovated carriage house on property that Barbara’s parents bought in 1951. In the fall of 2020, with renovations completed, they moved into the larger 1910 family home that had been restored to its early style with modern conveniences.
Barbara is an active member of the Garden Club of DeLand and its Milkweed Circle. She helps with the Butterfly Sensory Garden and the Downtown planters, and serves on the Butterfly Squad that has certified more than 180 monarch sanctuaries.
“I raised monarch butterflies for years when I was teaching my 3- and 4-year-olds in the classroom, and now we are including butterfly attractors and more native plants in our gardens. We love trading plants with others. That’s how our garden keeps growing.”
In addition to larval plants for butterflies, Barbara’s favorites are pagodas, spinach tree, shrimp plants, firebush, pentas, Wendy’s Wish and Amistad salvias.
Propagating and hybridizing daylilies have become a passion of Harland’s.
He said, “Their prime blooming season is April-June. We moved several trailer loads of potted daylilies from Texas to DeLand. Then we began amending the soil by collecting, spreading and composting leaves through a diligent collection of bagged discarded oak leaves.” This gives a new meaning to “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
Harland added, “I started hybridizing in 2006, but we have been growing and collecting them for a lot longer. We actually dug up a ditch lily on our way to get married. I like growing daylilies, because you can neglect and abuse them, and they keep coming back. The favorite of my hybridization will bloom February-November, with four or five re-blooming cycles. I named it St. Andrew’s White Gold. It’s a very simple, humble daylily that grows about a foot off the ground and is mostly gold. During a good sunny day, the flower turns from gold to white.”
Daylilies are more like a grass than a lily, and they are named for their lilylike flower. Varieties range from dormant in the winter to evergreen, depending on the growing zones. How appropriate that the daylily is the official club flower for the Garden Club of DeLand. This couple add their mutual love of gardening to their full-bloom lifelong connection.
Readers may want to mark their calendars to drive by next spring, because the daylily and butterfly garden will keep growing. At 526 N. Sans Souci Ave. in DeLand, this garden receives additional professional assistance from Master Gardener Lance Harding, owner of DeLand Plance.