It's a daylily world at Dragon's Mead

Published: Monday, May 27, 2013 at 12:56 PM.

I’m driving, driving, driving.  Just about the time I decide to pull over and check my map and call Randy for further instructions to find his garden... there it is on the right side of the road. 

Out of Panama City, past the Airport and about an hours drive from Destin is the “mother lode” of all daylily gardens. 

Dragon’s Mead Nursery, in the Southport community, is owned by Cindy and Randy Fleming. This garden covers 2 ½ acres of daylilies and shows over 1,500 different daylily cultivars. 

The prime time in the garden is the middle of April through May and they operate by, you come, you choose the ones you want, you pay, they dig and you bring a large clump of daylily home with you. They also operate via the internet at, where you will find a map to direct you.  I was curious where the name Dragon’s Mead came from and was told that the term, “mead” is Gaelic for meadow; therefore, it equates to an area or pasture where dragons would frequent. 

Pulling into the shaded garden with Annie, Randy meets us with a broad smile and a handshake.  The baseball cap looks like it goes on every morning just as the sun sprinkles its first warm glow across the garden.  Randy’s wife, Cindy, is a school teacher at Jinks Middle School and says “working in the garden calms you down and gets you back on the right track if you have some very stressful days.  Having a daylily garden is cheaper than a psychiatrist and a lot more fun.”

The day I visit for this article, the yellow sulphur butterflies can’t seem to get enough of the small, bright red blossoms of the cardinal vine that is in full bloom and covers a white arbor and picket fence that is an entrance to one area of the vast garden.  A large, climbing dawn rose is fighting for its right to the sunshine as well. 

As we ride around the extensive garden in Randy's golf cart, I am amazed at the overwhelming variety of plants that I see.  Randy says that Cindy is a collector and likes the unusual stuff like pink rosea vitex, 5 different varieties of cestrum, which are great butterfly attractors and provide berries for the birds in the fall. 

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