Mary Lane Hood is on a mission to convert the garden space around her home to attract more bees and butterflies. In a neighborhood surrounded by traditional landscaping this home in Victoria Hills is graced by flowers. She dug out flowerless hedges in front of her home and planted a patch of larval and nectar food. Bees were buzzing around a burst of colors in this paradise patch of nectar providers: red and pink Penta, yellow Bush Daisies, white cat’s whiskers, purple salvia “Wendy’s Wish”, orange Firebush along with coreopsis and others too plentiful to name. “They took off like bullets because we used organic fertilizer in here,” shares Hood. Larval host plants for swallowtails, the blue Sky Vine, and Dutchman pipe, have woven their way up a wooden trellis designed with double sides for more growth. There’s Cassia for Sulphur butterflies and Milkweed for Monarchs. “I have lots of bees, bumble bees and honey bees. The milkweed has been eaten down to the bare bones. We had lots of chrysalises all over the place, hanging off of the glider, the roof, all over the walls. We have hatched lots and lots of butterflies. It’s been a real joy.”
Growing up in Tennessee Hood enjoyed gardening and grew her love of flowers with her mother and as a member of 4H. Remember those 4 H’s stand for Head, Heart, Hands and Health. She has embraced those and extends them through her career choice as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse with a specialty in anesthesia which she has been practicing since 1975. Her heart felt energies extend to her family including her husband, Dr. Royce Hood, two daughters, three grandsons, her patients and her beloved cats; and of course bees and butterflies. Hoods mission is to create an example garden for others to emulate.
Mary Lane Hood shares, “I do this because it’s beneficial, it takes effort, my effort. I do this because I think it’s important. I enjoy it so much. We sit out here on the front porch glider and watch the butterflies; they were so plentiful from April through June.”
Residents of HOA communities need to apply through their HOA for permission to make changes with landscaping and avoid the use of insecticides and pesticides. As more people learn about the benefits of planting gardens that are beautiful and provide natural food for pollinators as well; we can all be a part of a much needed change in our environment.
The Hoods have two DeLand homes that have received the designation of Certified Monarch Sanctuaries and now The Garden Club of DeLand also awards the Hoods’ home in Victoria Hills with the August 2021 Garden of the month.
By Cheryl Floyd, Garden of the Month Chairperson, DeLand Garden of the Month
The Garden Club of DeLand awarded Barbara and Harland Merriam Garden Club of the Month for their Daylily and Butterfly Gardens. The Merriams returned to DeLand from Texas and moved into their renovated Carriage House located 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 the Milkweed Circle. She helps in the Butterfly Sensory Garden, the downtown planters and serves on the Butterfly Squad that has certified over 180 Monarch Sanctuaries. “I raised monarch butterflies for years when I was teaching my three and four 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. “Their prime blooming season is April to 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.
“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 as early as February through 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; named for their lily-like 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 adds 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. Located on North Sans Souci in DeLand, this garden receives additional professional assistance from master gardener, Lance Harding, owner of DeLand Plance, located inside The Table Pantry and Provisions.
Submitted by Cheryl Floyd,
Garden of the Month Chairperson
For the love of his wife and beautiful gardens, Mark Thompson a DeLand resident of over thirty years, approached his neighbor friend, Brandon Bryson of Green Orchid Landscape Services to help redo their lawn as a gift for his wife Lynn. Imagine her surprise when she returned to their home after being away for a few months. “We went to North Dakota for a visit and I ended up staying for a while. Mark traveled back and forth to Florida for his work. When we drove up I was astounded to see our beautiful yard totally transformed.”
Landscaper Bryson shared, “I took inspiration from their western roots by replacing the decomposing wooden retaining wall in the back of their home with one hundred and ten feet of stacked Maple Canyon Flats stone chosen to complement their existing deck.” The natural habitat in the wooded area beyond the garden wall has older established azaleas that bring spring blooms. Utilizing extra stone shapes that didn’t fit into the wall, a low maintenance rock garden was created featuring an array of succulents, bromeliads, yuccas, and coontie. The lawn was replaced with new slow-growing ProVista® turf that does well in shady areas and requires less fertilization and mowing.
Clumps of spring blooming White Fountain ornamental grasses, Loropetalum and Muhly grass were planted in the bed along the horseshoe driveway. Sunpatiens a hybrid of Impatiens adorning the front entry-way are able to withstand Florida heat and sun. They will be replaced by caladiums and mums seasonally. More color catches the eye with Blue Daze along the walkway and an existing Camelia from the old landscape proved to be a keeper with much needed soil improvement and proper pruning.
Bryson whose own Wyngate garden featuring gorgeous caladiums had been nominated for the award said, “You need to see Mark and Lynn’s place; I believe it’s one of the most unique properties in Volusia County and I think it’s interesting that Mark was the very first member of the Victoria Hills golf club.” So you have it, good neighbors, it’s a DeLand thing. June 2021 Garden of the Month is awarded to Mark and Lynn Thompson !
Submitted by Cheryl Floyd,
Garden of the Month Chairperson
Driving east into Lake Lindley Village in north DeLand, a home accented by brightly painted murals catches the eye. The garden begins on the street side of the sidewalk and beckons the visitor to step on to one of many winding stone pathways that lead the eye into a wonderland of plants for the delight of humans and pollinators. This jungle paradise is affectionately named MeJesTique Forest Gardens combining owner Janice Spencer’s initials with those of her boyfriend and fellow gardener, Mark Schweder’s initials. This gardening duo has lovingly developed every inch of the property. Janice shares, “There are always at least twenty different flowers blooming. Everywhere you look, you will see blossoms for the pollinators. The garden feeds us, our friends, and creature people. When I started in 2004 there was only turf and sand that didn’t even support weeds. I began on the north side, working my way around my property. Mark joined me in 2007 and together we have enjoyed creating and expanding our green paradise.” Their ongoing act of love for nature and its produce has evolved over the last seventeen years to create a garden filled with edibles, nectar and larval plants with no lawn.
The entrance to the Southwest corner in front of the home leads to a winding stone path flanked by raised beds made from stacked concrete retention blocks. “Here we have established Regenerative Agriculture or lasagna gardening through no-till layering of organic compost made from horse manure shoveled and toted away from Spring Garden Ranch where the manure has been aired and aged for gardeners,” explains Spencer. She continued to list many of the edible plants including collard greens, Kohlrabi, Chinese cabbage, Bok Choy, mustard greens, and potatoes. “Everything is organic. We use no herbicides, pesticides or fungicides.” Janice enjoys allowing the edible plants to bolt into their flowering stage to provide nectar for the pollinators. An herb section complete with dill and cilantro grace the people food garden area which is surrounded by more nectar plants like Pentas, a Cherries Jubilee Allamanda bush with pink and red blooms, Shrimp plants, purple and red fire spikes, variegated Vitex powder puff with pretty blue flowers and an Angel’s Trumpet draped with many blossoms in three stages of color: white, yellow and pink.
We pass a Jatropha tree adorned with red blossoms and enter the gated side garden area labeled, The Orchard, where a former sandbox existed; the soil has been enriched and produces an abundance of food. Along this stone path is a row of edibles including Red shield Florida Cranberries, Okinawa spinach, Chayote squash, banana trees, chia spinach leaf, Pigeon Pea, and bunching onions. The orchard utilizing this small section of a city lot also included Surinam cherries, fig trees, longevity spinach, blueberries, blackberries, lychee nuts, mulberry and more. As we walked along Spencer offered a pinch of this and a leaf of that to taste, a virtual moveable vegetative feast.
Colorful murals painted by the artist, Shannon Holt, continue from the front exterior walls of the home to the tall wooden privacy fencing that surrounds the three back gardens. Entering the secluded, private back garden there’s an array of multi-colored orchids and other plants in and around the trees providing a shaded area.
On the east sunny side, a hydroponic garden engineered by Mark, utilizes an irrigation system constructed with three connected rain barrels and recycled materials. Like a living grocery shelf, the layered hydroponic pipes reveal rows of greens, the first which had recently been harvested with several more plants ready to provide salads in the near future.
At the end of our tour we saw very hungry Monarch caterpillars munching on milkweed leaves while bees and butterflies flew around our heads. This garden has received several certifications including Monarch City DeLand Sanctuary certified by the DeLand Garden Club, Wildlife Habitat awarded by National Wildlife Federation and The Humane Backyard from the Humane Society. Janice Spencer, a Volusia County Master gardener, indicated her potting area recently emptied of over one hundred potted plants propagated for a Master Gardener distribution at the Volusia County Fair Grounds.
Janice and Mark’s MeJesTique Forest Gardens located in a residential neighborhood, at 821 Village Lake Drive, North in DeLand, offers an organic delight to the senses.
Submitted by Cheryl Floyd,
Garden Club of DeLand
“ Choice Flowers Brighten Garden Of The Month”
It has been said that April showers bring May flowers, but this garden has had an abundance of blooms all winter long.
Steve Lahiff and his wife Lisa moved into their new home at 729 n. Florida ave. in DeLand six months ago. They quickly and expertly transformed it into a stunning display of color, using winter annuals as well as perineal flowers. This garden is a shining example of how one may add some much needed flair to one’s landscape during the gloomy winter months. Choice plantings include snapdragons, petunias, pansies, and dianthus, which will all surely perish over the course of our sweltering summer, however, gazing upon the cheerful blossoms on a dreary March morning conjures a glimmer of hope that spring is approaching.
Mr. Lahiff recounts that he “caught the gardening bug” at a young age. His mother loved flowers and his father kept the yard meticulously groomed at their home in southern Florida. Over fifty years later, Steve’s passion continues to grow. His gardening enthusiasm is obvious and infectious. Apparently that gardening bug is highly contagious!
Our Garden of the Month award recipient for April 2021, Mr. Lahiff, is also the owner and operator of Garden’s by Steve LLC. For over 18 years he has blessed our town with some iconic garden areas, the style of which is quite unique, and always eye catching. He would like to take this opportunity to offer “A special thanks to the community of DeLand, both residential and commercial, for allowing us to serve you as we have grown as a family and a business.” In turn, the Garden Club of DeLand wishes to thank Steve and the Lahiff family for their hard work in creating this outstanding garden oasis.
Garden of the month chairperson
The Garden Club of DeLand
Garden of the Month Provides Food for Wildlife and People The Garden of The Month award for March has been presented to Master Gardener,Carolyn Kieler and her husband Don
at 2446 Lake Talmadge Drive, DeLand. The Kieler's garden includes environmentally friendly Florida native plants as well as luscious vegetable gardens. Carolyn abides by the philosophy that everything she grows should feed something, be it wildlife such as butterflies, bees, birds or people. One might say, it's a "garden of eatin' ". Since moving into their home in 2014, Carolyn, a certified Master Gardener since 2004, has added approximately 75 different species of Florida native plants to her landscape. She created the garden beds herself, using a shovel to remove turf grass. After the installation phase, Carolyn wanted a garden with minimal maintenance, hence the choice to go native. Kieler has utilized mulch extensively to control weeds, and her drought tolerant plants do not require an irrigation system. The garden has been certified by the Garden Club of DeLand as a Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary Garden. Don is the muscle of the operation, and is happy to handle the heavy lifting for his lovely wife. A skilled carpenter, he has constructed sturdy raised garden beds for growing vegetables and
herbs. Mr. Kieler is also quite knowledgeable about landscaping, and stated that his favorite tree is the weeping yaupon holly. In addition to gardening at home for pleasure, Carolyn volunteers as a Volusia county UF-IFAS Master Gardener. She is the leader of the team which works in the Children's Discovery Garden, who oversee planting, adding hardscape, and general maintenance, creating an educational outdoor space, which appeals to children of all ages. Carolyn says that gardening keeps you young at heart. Her enthusiasm for plants and providing food for wildlife is an inspiration, and her expertise is asset to our community. Congratulations to the Kieler's on a job well done! Article and photos by
Garden of the Month Erin Miceli, Chair
Garden of the Month Provides Food for Wildlife and People
The Buzz Around Natives;
The Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center Wins Garden of the Month Award
When it comes to gardening, February is a time for planning. As daylight hours slowly grow longer, gardeners can look forward to the future and envision what may come to be in the spring. Student research assistants / project managers Jenna Palmisano and Carson Bockoven along with the crew at Stetson University have been planning and working diligently to create their newest installation of stellar horticultural displays. The pollinator garden at The Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center has been designated as February's Garden of the Month on behalf of the Garden Club of DeLand. Located along the shore of Lake Beresford at 2636 Alhambra Ave.
The 10 acres of land surrounding the center include native plant species selected to attract pollinators, as per the vision of benefactor Sandra Stetson, who is the great granddaughter of John B. Stetson. The natural lands are being cultivated to include educational botanical garden displays highlighting the discoveries of 18th century botanists, John and William Bartram. This latest addition to the project broke ground in the spring of 2019 beginning with the removal of sod to define the garden beds, and the installation of drip irrigation. Dr. Jason Evans Associate professor of environmental science and studies, worked with the Stetson grounds crew, led by the now retired manager of the grounds, David Rigsby ( whom much of the landscaping magic was credited to), as well as students from the University's conservation biology class taught by Dr. Kirsten Work. Funding was provided in part by The West Volusia Audubon Society and the Duke Energy Foundation.
"The pollinator garden at the Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center is the first step in the transformation of the landscape from a manicured site to one that better serves natural systems and welcomes wildlife. We look forward to seeing how the native plants adapt and establish in this beautiful landscape as we continue to maintain the space and add more natives.", said Palmisano.
Native plant species chosen for the newest installation include nectar sources and host plants for butterflies and other pollinators. Wildflowers include native milkweed, dotted horsemint, scarlet sage, tickseed, false rosemary, blazing star, dune sunflower and more.
The new garden will also include a community seed bank. Jenna explained, "The idea of our seed library is to create a community in which students, faculty, aquatic center neighbors, garden clubs, etc. can have access to native plants and share resources. We will kick off our seed library at our reception on 2/15 with a wildflower seed giveaway. The goal is to have people plant the native wildflowers in their gardens, harvest some seeds from well-established plants, and put them in the library to complete the cycle (and of course take more!)." The reception, "The buzz around natives; a toast to improving Stetson University's landscape will be held at The Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center on Saturday February 15th at 5:00 p.m
Kudos to all involved in making this project a success, and to Stetson University for their continuing commitment to beautifying our town in spectacular fashion.
-submitted by Erin Miceli
Exploring a Spanish Mission Style Garden Courtyard at FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital.
As we enter the roaring '20's, a roaring, wild garden is the natural choice to receive the first Garden of the Month award of the new decade. On behalf of the Garden Club of DeLand, FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital, located at 115 East Euclid Avenue, is being honored as January's recipient for outstanding planting and maintenance.
The Gardens were designed and are tended to with love by Maggi and Ron Hall for their daughter, Dr. Erin Holder, who opened her practice in 2004. Upon entering the courtyard through the wrought iron gate one feels as if he or she may have been transported to St. Augustine as a proper Spanish Mission style garden is an uncommon sight in DeLand. The eye is drawn to the grand water feature grounding the center of the courtyard. Stone lions’ heads appropriately grace each side of the fountain surrounded by bold, warm, complementary colored tiles. Tropical plants filling each corner have reached their mature sizes creating a lush, complete look. Ti plants, firebush, and firecracker plants add pops of bold color while variegated Schefflera provides contrast. Philodendrons, sansevieria, and Spanish bayonet play off of each other’s forms and textures creating visual interest. Palms flank the entrance balancing the design while adding vertical appeal and crucial element to include when planting space is limited.
Maggi and Ron, both born in Florida, met while attending Stetson University in 1964. After
Maggi retired from her career as a special education teacher in South Carolina after 30 years and Ron as a college professor, the Halls returned to DeLand while Erin attended the University Of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine where she concentrated her studies in avian, exotic and integrative medicine. In October of 2000 the Hall family began the process of restoring the derelict buildings on the corner of South Woodland Boulevard and East Euclid Avenue. After 6 years and 28 days the project was completed. Maggi was recognized for her tremendous accomplishment with the “2006 Florida Trust for Historic Preservation Individual Achievement Award” for this endeavor. Photographs and details of her outstanding work can be viewed on their website at www.FloridaWildVetHospital.com.
Maggi reflected on her labor of love and had this to say: "I wanted the courtyard to feel like pet owners and their furry babies had stepped into a tranquil setting - a wild Florida environment (FloridaWild!). The environment filled with live plants, flowing water, and comfortable seating adds peace and harmony. So many of my daughter's clients and their pets feel less anxious; in other words the "white-coat" syndrome often vanishes when they enter our garden. In fact, many clients wait outside rather than the sitting rooms until it's their turn to see a doctor." Without a doubt the Hall and Holder families have made quite the impact on our town helping pets live their best lives. -submitted by Erin Miceli