Thank-you Meadows Farms Nurseries for sponsoring this blog post. All opinions are my own.
For years as I drove to work, I would pass the Burtonsville, MD location of Meadows Farms Nurseries just on the right-hand side of Old Columbia Pike. Route 29 used to go right by it, but then the bypass was built, and you now have to get off at the Burtonsville exit to get to the nursery. Finally, with Behnke’s closed, I was invited to stop in for a visit.
Driving in their driveway, one of the first things I noticed that I know many of you would be very excited about was their wide assortment of pavers and landscaping stones. Everything was displayed so you could see at a glance just what you want. Then I saw something else that I knew you would be interested in. BULK MULCH! We used to sell mulch and topsoil in bulk, but years ago decided to stop for logistical reasons. Now here is a place close by that can help out with those of you that like to buy in bulk. They also have mulch and soil in bags just like we did.
For those of you that have never shopped at Meadows Farms, you really owe it to yourself to check them out. Like Behnke’s, they are family-owned and operated since 1960. Here is part of what they say about their beginnings: “Founder Bill Meadows (“The Farmer”) and his wife Betty, were both involved in the school system, with Bill being a physical education teacher and Betty working in the library.
During his ten years of teaching, Bill developed a plan for keeping his students and himself productive during the three-month summer vacation. He would go to the farmer’s market in Washington, DC and buy tomatoes which his students would then sell, door-to-door, from little red wagons. The vendors in the market gave Bill the nickname “Farmer,” and the name has stuck. Their story about their beginnings and their philosophy is something I know that you will enjoy reading about. Like so many other independent garden centers, they have such an incredibly strong family story and background.
Meadows Farms has 18 different locations and full-time landscape service. While so far I have only visited the Burtonsville location I am excited to venture out to see some of their other sites, one of which is in Damascus, Maryland, pretty close to where I live. I asked Debbi Downs, the manager of the Burtonsville location, about the landscaping service and how that works and she explained that their landscape division has over 30 designers who will meet with you and go over what your needs.
Added to that, they also give a lifetime warranty on trees and shrubs that they install. But that is not all: besides doing the planting they can install garden ponds, pond features, patios, walkways, decks, retaining walls, stone paths, stone walls, outdoor kitchens, and fire pits. Pretty much you name it, they can do it.
Debbi and I spent an excellent time talking about being involved in a garden center. She has worked for Meadows Farms since 1988. Another similar thing to Behnke’s: their employees have been there awhile. You could tell right away that Debbi loves what she does. She mentioned the great staff they have, and I could tell that even though it was a sweltering August day, they still had a smile for me and other customers that were shopping. Being greeted with a smile is something I always love to see at any business and was happy to see it here.
My first visit in August showed a garden center well kept and full, which is not an easy thing to do in the heat of the summer. No weeds. Another plus I saw was asphalt walkways, something that we had talked about doing at Behnke’s for years. NOT the gravel you had to push your carts along at our Beltsville location. I know, I know you loved our garden center, but really sometimes we all just wished for some beautiful smooth pathways.
I looked around their houseplant area and was impressed with the selection of tropicals they had for sale. There was an assortment of succulents and cacti, along with the terrific houseplants that we all love.
The big question we have been getting is, “where will we get our Native Plants?” Meadows Farms is part of the American Beauty Native Plant Program in which you will find a good selection of the natives you are looking for.
They also have a VIP program which is sort of similar to Behnke’s Garden Club program where it is FREE to sign up, and you get exclusive sales prices and special deals. Unlike Behnkes however, you are also entered into a $5,000 Landscape Giveaways 3 times a year. I strongly suggest you go online and sign up, so you’re in their system when you stop in to check them out.
As you know, Fall is an excellent time for planting, and right now, you will find all your favorite fall plants that you enjoyed getting from Behnke’s. They have garden mums, pansies, asters, and kale and cabbage, along with many other fall plants and decorating items like corn stalks and pumpkins. When I went back last week, I saw they were getting in their selection of spring-flowering bulbs, which was great to see.
Meadows Farms was among the first of the local independent garden centers to reach out to us when we announced our closing. The IGC’s (Independent Garden Centers) I often referred to as our friendly competition really were great in offering positions to our staff.
Someone that some of you might remember is Greg who worked in our Woody Plants Department. He started with Meadows Farms in June, and apparently, I understand he is going through their management training. I was able to do a quick video with him before I left for the day, and it was almost like we were still at Behnke’s–red shirt and all. Greg mentioned to me one of the great things he has found at Meadows Farms is he is not just in one department anymore. Everyone does everything here, so he is very excited to be able to help in perennials and annuals as well as cashiering. Of course, when I found him, he was out in the tree area.
So there you go! Meadows Farms is right in your back yard. Burtonsville, Maryland is not that far away from Beltsville, and I know they will make you feel welcome. Just tell them Behnke’s sent you!
Behnke Nurseries, VP