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A Year of Teaching Gardening

Event banner, and Carol Allen teaching lawn care.
Event banner, and Carol Allen teaching lawn care.

Out of curiosity, I counted up all the educational opportunities that Behnkes provided for its customers in 2012, each one designed to turn their customers into better (and happier) gardeners and to turn more people into gardeners.  I was surprised by the count…….

152 Workshops, Classes, and Demonstrations, most of them free, on a huge range of topics – rain gardening, growing bulbs, vegetables, orchid care, holiday decorations.  Really, everything imaginable.  Instructors included local horticulturalist and guru Carol Allen and experts on the Behnkes staff, like our woodies buyer Miri Talabac.

As the Behnkes blogger, I attended as many classes as possible, took notes, asked questions, and presented the information here.  (For example, Miri’s Favorite Shrubs and Carol on Putting the Garden to Bed for the Winter).

Behnkes hosted events in support of the local gardening community.  These organizations held one or more events at the Beltsville location, and not in a back room, but out in the open where passing customers could enjoy the happening:

  • Potomac Rose Society
  • Azalea Society of America
  • Potomac Rock Garden Society


Probably most fun of all was the spring Garden Party, where representatives from 21 local garden clubs and societies were in the store talking to the public about their organizations, and generally meeting and greeting.

In addition to events, Behnkes employs my services to write weekly stories here on Behnkes.com.  They range from how-to topics to updates on my new garden to book reviews and giveaways and more, always with PHOTOS.  Gardening is super-visual, so I say bring on the PHOTOS.  And have some fun!

Just compiling this information has made me wonder – is there any other source of so much reliable regional gardening information?  Master Gardeners are terrific but they don’t have the resources or facilities to do nearly as much.  Big Boxes?  Don’t get me started on the kind of gardening those companies are teaching – the kind that requires buying lots of products.

Any Requests?

If there’s something you’re dying to learn more about, let us know.  Classes and events are in the works already for the new year.

Posted by Susan Harris.

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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