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.


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