May 14, 2023 · Filed Under Events and News 


Many of the plants in the cottage garden at 1708 Frederick are very old passalong gifts.

When Merry Hotopp started her garden twenty years ago, she planted some Pink Ladies bulbs she had dug up decades before on her great grandmother’s farm near Gene Autry, Oklahoma.

Merry’s garden has evolved to include a wide variety of irises, many of which she’s traded and gifted to neighbors.  There are even a few from family in Oklahoma. Even though this year’s iris display was inexplicably below par compared to years past, Merry’s sage and lambs ear have taken off.

Several colors of day lilies line the front beds, including wine, yellow with wine centers and vintage double orange; some came with the house when Merry bought it fifty years ago.  The red poppies came from seeds a good friend gave her.  Merry harvests their seeds every year.

“I only plant perennials,” explains Merry who is a self-taught gardener.  Gerber daisies, oxalis, and coneflowers add seasonal color.  Mums on the front porch are from Merry’s mother.  The rock rose in the pot north of the front door is a volunteer.  “Probably dropped by the birds,” Merry guesses.

A cage for the Mr. Tuft morning glories awaits the coming vines.  Old time abelias provide the backdrop to the plant bed near the driveway.  Merry keeps a sharp eye on the ruellia, a gift from a friend, or it will easily take over.

Merry’s husband was a pool builder.  “He was always coming home with interesting rocks and fossils he and his crew dug up, so I placed many of them in the flower beds and on the front porch,” Merry says.

The Cherokee Princess dogwood tree was a gift from Merry’s neighbor across the street. “She gave it to me after my husband died because I’m part Cherokee.”  Merry planted mini ajuga at its base.

Being named AHNA Yard of the Month has its rewards. Merry received a $25 gift certificate to Archie’s Gardenland, courtesy of AHNA, and a free year’s membership in AHNA.

If you see a yard you’d like to nominate, even your own, please send the address to



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