Rogue Daffodils

Hundreds of sunny yellow daffodils line the edge of busy Route 2/4 south of Prince Frederick, seemingly popping up out of nowhere. Brilliantly announcing spring’s arrival, the daffodils blooming along the woodland’s edge are neither naturalized nor deposited will-nilly by bulb gathering critters. Nor are these daffodils escapees of an old garden; there is no house in the vicinity and besides, escapees don’t line themselves up in such an orderly fashion.
    It’s that planting scheme that says these are no rogue daffodils. These daffodils were deliberately put there by someone with a plan.
    That someone was William Kreamer. But the plan wasn’t his.
    “I’m guessing it was about 1996 or ’97,” Kreamer tells Bay Weekly. His grandfather, the late Greg Ciesielski, and Marci Kreamer, William’s mother, owned and operated Chesapeake Bounty, a roadside produce and nursery stand that operated along that stretch of road. The Calvert County landmark opened for business in 1994, offering local produce, nursery plants and “lively crabs.”
    “My grandfather decided to, in his words, beautify Route 4,” Kreamer recalls. “He gave me these giant sacks of bulbs, a little hand shovel and a jug of water and told me to plant the bulbs in straight lines and don’t stop till you’re done. It took me a couple of days, on my hands and knees. Not a fun job when you’re a teenager.”
    To locals — and highway travelers — the roadside business was hard to miss, in spring because of the daffodils, and in the fall for the pumpkins.
    Ciesielski closed the popular stand in January 2007. Kreamer reopened it later that year, in time for pumpkins. He stayed until the landowners evicted him in late 2007. But since March 2009, he has kept Chesapeake’s Bounty alive in a new location six miles down the road from his grandfather and mother’s original stand.
    Up the road, the abandoned red and white produce stand is still there. So are the daffodils.
    “People are always asking us about those daffodils,” says Karla Osburn, an employee at the new Chesapeake Bounty. “They want to pick them.”
    Is Kremer planning to plant daffodils at the new location?
    “We haven’t done any landscaping yet,” he says. “But we’re planning to do so in a couple of years, pending approval of both county and state.”
    Things are different now. You just can’t hand your grandson a sack of bulbs and tell him to go plant them. But colorful testament to a simpler time can still be found along busy roads in April.