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Another Great Local Independent Garden Center

Sun Nurseries
Sun Nurseries

A Visit To Sun Nurseries

This week after I was reminded again by a reader about a fabulous independent garden center in Western Howard County, I decided to stop in. Sun Nurseries was started in 1973 by Erik and Minna Rosenbaum. They opened the nursery for sales part-time: Erik worked full-time as an electrical engineer for Bendix Corporation, and Minna worked for Giant Food. By 1981 the nursery was open full time.


Annette Fentress, their daughter, has taken over the family business. In 1988 the nursery added 94 acres a few miles away in Carroll County, allowing Sun Nurseries to produce the tens of thousands of plants you will see along Bushy Park Road in Cooksville, MD.

Spring Time At The Garden Center

When I arrived and parked, I decided to start walking around outside. Multiple trucks were being unloaded– loads of beautiful annuals and houseplants, along with, what I learned later, their nursery stock of trees and evergreens. As I wandered around the nice wide paths, I enjoyed listening to customers talk about what plant they wanted to buy and why. I think that is one of the reasons I love Spring. Everyone has been so cooped up all Winter, going to a garden center makes folks happy.


I loved how they had a big map of their layout right out the back door of their shop. This map explained where you could find everything. Plus, how to interpret the symbols on the plant care signs. You can even look on their website at their Nursery Display Area Map. Ask for a printed copy when you arrive, like the maps we provided at Behnke’s. One of the tips that they have on their website is, “Wear sneakers or very comfortable shoes. The nursery is easily walkable and wheelchair accessible, and you might want to spend the whole day here!”

Operations Manager, Steve Arrington

I talked to Operations Manager Steve Arrington about the garden center. I had known Steve and his family for many years but was surprised when he mentioned he had worked for Sun Nurseries for 42 years. When we were all in high school, I worked with his brothers at a local wholesale grower, Walnut Springs Nursery.


Steve mentioned that they buy many of their annuals and houseplants from local growers. He explained how important it is to them to support these local companies as much as possible. I was excited to see a garden center with more than five African Violets. They had a lovely selection that had just arrived that morning. He said they bring in fresh houseplants every few days, so if you decide to make the trip out, I suggest you call first if you are looking for a certain houseplant.

Plant Growing Production

I never knew that Sun Nurseries plant-growing production site was located close to where I live. Steven said they produce a lot of B&B (balled and burlapped) material on their 94 acres property. On their website it says, “They believe that locally grown plants, produced with real soil in the mix, provide the best plants for your landscape and garden. Such plants are sturdy, more drought-tolerant, and have a higher survival rate”.  Something else I wanted to share with you is their Landscape and Design Service. Check their website to see their service area. I know several people who have had them do both large and small landscape projects, and they have been thrilled with the results.

Sun Nurseries Location

Sun Nurseries is about 45 minutes west of Beltsville and worth the drive out. Make sure you give yourself time to walk around because there is a lot to see and take in, like Behnke’s. Plus, if you are in the market for a new tree for your yard, these are grown in Maryland. Sun Nurseries is also part of the Marylanders Plants Trees Program, where you can SAVE $25 on purchasing a MD Native Tree.


Like many local garden centers, you can tell that the people at Sun Nurseries do it because they love what they do. The word “family” comes up often when I visit independent garden centers, and it is no different here. They have a large returning Spring staff and many year-round employees who were very welcoming to me as I wandered around the property.


I am heading back later this week; I have my eye on a certain azalea on my must-have list.
Sun Nurseries View
View Of Sun Nurseries
Sun Nurseries
Sun Nurseries

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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