Category Archives: Daffodils

Further Adventures with Merle Reuser, The Daffodil Man

Merle, Cedric and I drove to Cloverdale one fine morning in the rain to check out the homestead on 300 acreas that he knew as a boy.  It was owned by Margaret Adams who died in 2000 after a long friendship of almost sixty years with Merle.  As a young boy of eight years old, he began to take the daffodils she picked on her property to town and give them away.  Now, the homestead is abandoned, and Merle has permission to dig and replant her “pioneer” daffodils which were planted by settlers.

Further Adventures with Merle Reuser, The Daffodil Man

Margaret Homestead 2013

We walked up the road toward the barn and house which are deteriating, with Cedric stopping to drink rainwater.  Merle has permission from the heirs to pick, dig, separate and replant these pioneer planted daffodils on other properties.  From collapsed chicken coops, he has constructed planter boxes for daffodils and faun lilies.

Further Adventures with Merle, The Daffodil Man

Margaret Adam’s Barn

 The barn has a decaying car, boars root all around the buildings, boar hunters come occasionally to hunt, and otherwise it is just going away slowly.

Further Adventures with Merle, The Daffodil Man

Margaret Adam’s House

The torn up ground is from boar and Merle loves them for digging their holes so that he can populate them with his daffodils – gopher holes as well!

Further Adventures with Merle Reuser, The Daffodil Man

Merle Reuser holding a clump of pioneer daffodils

Merle is separating a clump in the photo above.  This rather small, yellow trumpeted daffodil also has a small bulb.  The daffodil is about 14″ tall and the photo below is of the bouquet brought to the meeting of the King and Queen of Daffodils described in a previous post.

Further Adventures with Merle Reuser, The Daffodil Man

Now this does not look very unusual to people who can distinguish a daffodil from a tulip, but this daffodil is very special.  Of all the daffodils that I grow, the larger yellow trumpeted ones do not rebloom for as many years as many others, particularly the Mediterranean types, jonquills and hybrid narcissus.  But this little beauty multiplies and doubles, Merle says, until the single daffodil becomes sixteen daffofils in the fourth year!

Where this settler’s or pioneer’s daffodil came from is yet to be explained.  But for thise of us who have come to love the daffodil, it stands alone.

Further Adventures with Merle Reuser, The Daffodil Man

After Ceddy’s Second Pond Rescue

Merle was a hero twice for Cedric who cannot walk by a puddle or a pond (even after being weil hydrated in the car with his water bowl and case of bottled water).  Ceddy leaned forward to get a drink from the pond, his arthritic hind legs failed to hold, and he nosed into the pond twice.  Merle made a full rescue both times, and Cedric went back into his blankets a very wet dog while Merle planted the daffodils he dug up from the homestead around his dance floor beside a country road.  The border of the dance floor will be six feet wide.  

Further Adventures with Merle Reuser, The Daffodil Man

Merle at Work on His Dance Floor with Daffodil Frame

Look for “Dancing with Daffodils” on Facebook to see more about Merle’s activities and giving projects.

https://www.facebook.com/DancingWithDaffodils?fref=ts

 

 

 

 

 

Adventures with Merle, The Daffodil Man

Adventures with Merle, The Daffodil Man

Merle Reuser With His High School Wheels – Now Used to Deliver Daffodil Bouquets!

Merle Reuser is a daffodil “freak” as he describes himself.  He has become well known in Cloverdale and Santa Rosa for his work since the age of eight of giving away bouquets of daffodils.  Margarat Adams, who lived on an old homestead outside of Cloverdale was like a grandmother to him, and he carried bouquets of pioneer daffodils she had picked to town to give away and make people happy.

Over time, cows carried material on their hoofs, birds planted seeds and these daffodils planted by settlers in the 1820s or later spread across her fields.  Each clump would grow and divide up to about fifty bulbs and then stop dividing but keep reblooming.  Merle found that if he lifted the clumps and pulled the individual bulbs apart, he could replant each one individually (gopher holes and boar rooting made this easy!) and they would double each year.  Thus, after four years there would be sixteen daffodils where just one began.  His efforts now are focused on landscaping “the last two miles” of a country road in Cloverdale in honor of Margaret Adams.  He has plans to rip out broom with a tractor to make the roadside more amenable to hosting the daffodils.

In addition to that project, which he believes will take his remaining years, during the months when he can locate and move them, he digs up and replants the daffodils.  He also picks the blooms each spring and gives away bouquets in memory of young people who have died of cancer.  Each year he takes the clusters of blooms to their schools and gives them to students.

Merle found me because he had seen an article in The Press Democrate in Santa Rosa and saved it.  When he called, he said he had heard that I was called the Daffodil Lady and I replied that I had heard that.  He then said, “Well, I’m the Daffodil Man and we have to meet.”  He brought up Chris Smith who is a reporter for the Press Democrat and who was unaware of the previous article.  We toured my paths and hillside which were full of daffodils in bloom.  When Chis’ article came out we had been promoted to the “King and Queen” of daffodils.   

Adventures wirh Merle, The Daffodil Man

Marde Ross, Merle Reuser, and Chris Smith

 

Adventures wirh Merle, The Daffodil Man

Merle Reuser, Marde Ross and Chris Smith

Every since, Merle has been leading me to other daffodil venues such as that in Volcano, California, in gold country, called “Daffodil Hill” and which I had always wanted to visit, Ironstone Winery which has a million daffodils planted along the roadside and throughout, up to Cloverdale to see the site of the settler’s daffodils, and to various wild flower areas.  He is also correspoinding with the woman who is the most famous of “Daffodil Hilsl”, and who inspired “The Daffodil Principal” which goes round and round on the internet, author unknown.  Her name is Gene Bauer and she lives in the hills above and in back of Los Angeles.  At eighty-six, she is still going strong, although her property is no longer open to the public.

 

 

 

Ironstone Vineyards, Motherlode Daffodil Show

Ironstone Vineyards, Motherlode Daffodil Show in Murphy is a fabulous display usually held over St. Patrick’s Day weekend as it was this year, but I was babysitting while my children were skiing in Utah.

So, Merle Reuser and I visited the winery with its one million daffodil and other bulbs  after we saw Daffodil Hill in Volcano, Ca.  He had seen it while I was babysitting as he had on other occasions.

Ironstone Vineyards, Motherlode Daffodil Show

Ironstone Vineyards, Motherlode Daffodil Show

 

Ironstone Vineyards, Motherlode Daffodil Show

In the photos above, there are many different varieties of Tulips and Daffodils.  The Salmon Parrot Tulips in the first photo are an old favorite from when I grew cut flowers in Portola Valley.  The second photo is a grouping of daffodils with a particularly garish daffodil in person, Einstein, which looks good in this photo but is Velveeta Cheese orange and looks almost phlorescent.  The third photo features the Tete a Tete daffodils which are a favorite of mine and which I love to see clustered together like these are.

This winery also owns the largest gold nugget in the world although it was not on display that day.  At forty four pounds it must be a sight and came out of a deposit of one hundred ounces of which it was the largest piece.  How appropriate for a winery in California’s Gold Country which also has one million daffodils.  Two hundred thousand more daffodils and they will have as many daffodils as the nuggest is worth is dollars, give or take a hundred thousand or so.

Along the road to the winery were planted three feet wide swaths of daffodils against the fencing of the vineyard.  What a pleasant sight!  Next year, I plant to go to see the many hundreds of daffodils created by daffodil enthusiasts that will be on display over the St. Patrick’s weekend.

Ironstone Vineyards, Motherlode Daffodil Show

 

Having the daffodils line the road in from of the vineyard is a great use of them.

Daffodil Hill in Volcano, CA

Daffodil Hill in Volcano, CAOn Wednesday, March 27th, Merle Reuser and drove to Volcano, CA to see the Daffodil Hill that I heard of for many years.  We packed Cedric into my SUV and drove about four hours up I80 to 50  to Folsom Road to 49 to Volcano if I have this straight.  Volcano is a tiny and charming one street town with a hotel called the St. George and some gold rush era facades,  oh, and a post office!Daffodil Hill near Murphys, CA (Actually in Volcano, CA!)

Cedric was thrilled to be out of the car for an extended time and enjoyed the walk around about four acres of grounds and daffodils.  Children love to pet him and he loves them too.

Daffodil Hill in Volcano, CA

Daffodil Hill in Volcano, CA

Daffodil Hill in Volcano, CA

There were many varieties that I grow planted in swathes and Ice Follies and Scarlet O’Hara were prevalent as were Dutch Master and Mt. Hood.  Also, there were some I have found too fancy for landscaping, but that is really a matter of taste.  Some were new to me but similar to ones I know like the one below which look like a pure white variety called Cheerfulness although this one has a yellow center.

Daffodil Hill near Murphys, CA (Actually in Volcano, CA!)

This one is a pink variety, but I don’t recognize it and haven’t grown it.

daffodil hill in murphys volcano california

Daffodil Hill in Volcano, CA

I didn’t see any of the newer daffodils that do naturalize like Trevithian, Golden Dawn, Thalia or Erlicheer nor any Tazetta Narcissi.  Overall it was a terrific sight!

Daffodil Hill in Volcano, CA

Daffodil Hill in Volcano, CA

There are more photographs on Marde Ross & Company Facebook and please “Like” my page!

Merle Reuser, The Daffodil Man

Merle Reuser, The Daffodil Man

I received a phone call from Merle Reuser saying that he wanted to meet the Daffodil Lady as he was the Daffodil Man!   He lives in Santa Rosa and has been replanting the oldest daffodils in California brought in by settlers in the 1820’s he thinks.  On a three hundred acre ranch in Cloverdale is a stand of thousands of these settler planted daffodils, and he digs up clumps and transfers them to other places and now has eleven such places that he adds to each year.

In Santa Rosa, he has an 72 x 100 foot area up on a hillside off of Calistoga Road across from the high school that is in the shape of a heart that is filled with these beautiful, small daffodils.  It is a memorial to children and others who have died of cancer.  The daffodils look like the yellow trumpets we are familiar with but just a little smaller and they naturalize in California extremely well.  Unlike the larger, modern yellow trumpets which return for only a limited number of years, they re-bloom like gangbusters.  Merle said that if he plants one, the next year there are two and after the fourth year there are sixteen and it is time to dig, separate and replant individually again.

The famous and original daffodil lady, Mrs. Gene Bauer of Running Spring, CA, no longer opens her garden, but I understand she is still alive.  Merle has sent her a letter asking to correspond with her, so I may hear more about this.  There is another, famous Daffodil Hill, in Murphy’s California, and Merle and I have agreed to pack Cedric into the car and drive up to see it.  This weekend, I am in Utah, babysitting while my children ski, so I will miss the amazing daffodil show that he is visiting at the Ironstone Vineyards, Motherlode Daffodil Show in Murphy’s, California where there are a hundreds of different blooms on display, I believe.  He has promised to tell me all about it.

He brought Chris Smith, a reporter with the Santa Rosa Press Democrat newspaper, and we toured my daffodils on Wednesday, March 13th.  They were still in full bloom with a few yet to appear and the biggest field, Thalia, yet to come into bloom although a few were starting.