In this episode of The Beyond Behnke’s Gardening Podcast, I talked with Alex Dencker about how he got started working at Behnke Nurseries and ended up 35 years later working for the Smithsonian Gardens as one of their horticulturists.
Alex shares a few stories of his relationship with my grandfather, Albert Behnke, and why working at Behnke’s was such a wonderful experience. From the age of 18 till 25 years later, Alex worked pretty much every position at Behnke’s till he left to work at the Smithsonian.
During our conversation, Alex recommended that if you are planning a visit to any of the Smithsonian’s many museums, check out their website first. Each museum has beautiful gardens that are open to everyone to wander around. Working at The National Museum of American History, Alex tries to incorporate what he can to tell the story of America’s history, like the Victory Garden located on the property. Also, using as many native plants is very important to him. Below are a few photos of Alex and some of the things he talks about while working at Albert Behnke’s Private Gardens in Burtonsville, MD.
To listen to my chat with Alex just click on PODCAST on the top of the website. Or Click here!
Here are a few sites and links to check out.
The Smithsonian Gardens https://gardens.si.edu/
Victory Garden at the National Museum of American History https://gardens.si.edu/gardens/victory-garden/
Alex’s favorite book, that he recommends that everyone read, is: Bringing Nature Home: How you can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants https://amzn.to/3bB5pvP
Alex told me that this book, Bringing Nature Home fundementally changed the way he look at gardening and more generally, how he looks at sustainability.
Two other great reference book recommended by Alex are: Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs
Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses by Michael Dirr
And last, Alex likes to go to the Missouri Botanical Garden (MOBOT) website when looking up plant information