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Back in the Day

Brrr! We all know just how cold it was last week. If dealing with the cold temps (temperamental old boilers for heating greenhouses, end-of-year inventory, temperamental cold employees, etc.) was not enough, a water line froze and burst, turning our back parking lot into a skating rink. Fun times for sure! NOT!  Every time we get a cold snap like the one we just had, I think to myself that it’s the coldest one ever! Of course we know it has been colder, but I think maybe it’s just the shock to our system after our nice Fall.

When I was a child, growing up here at the nursery, there used to be a large irrigation pond on the nursery grounds around where the parking lot is now, and another one closer to US 1. During the cold, cold winters, we children had to stay off the pond because the ice had to be broken open for the ducks and swans to swim, and once that was done it wasn’t safe. I used to love helping feed the swans and ducks. To watch them come running across the field and ice was amazing. The ducks quacking and the swans honking. By the way, word of advice…swans are pretty mean…do not try to pet them.  There weren’t any Canada geese here in the winter in those days; if they remained in the area during the winter, they didn’t hang out at Behnke’s.

As long as there were ponds during my childhood, there were swans. My grandmother, Rose Behnke, loved to take photos of them during  all seasons of the year, but when it snowed she was always bundled up and out the door to take picture after picture. And not just of the swans. She would take photos of the beautiful snowy scenery. “Take a deep breath,” she would tell us, “look around you and see what God has given us.” Rose Behnke always found the positive in everything. While the rest of us would be saying “Oh my, how cold it is,” she would be saying “Oh my, how beautiful it is.” And then snap yet another picture of a snow-covered tree.

Those who know me, know winter is not my favorite time of the year. I have been known to say, “if I never see snow again, it will be too soon.”  But maybe I need to take a page from my grandmother’s book and just embrace it and know that it is just part of what makes Maryland so wonderful. Where else can you get to the mountains or the beach within a few hours and have all four seasons? But darn it, it really was cold out!

by Stephanie Fleming, Behnke’s Vice President

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.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I so enjoy your stories. Sharing the experiences of life and the gift of all the people who meant so much to us. Makes us kindred spirits. Happy New Year

  2. Keep those memories coming………..loved the “non-Canadian” geese at the long forgotten pond. And snow is only bad, once it hits our earth! So, enjoy it folling, if you can.

    I could not find the “donations” source from Behnke. Yet, I know, you have donated to the non profit Washington Saengerbund before. I had sent an attachment for the choir’s next event and asked if you could possible “advertise Behnke” with a door prize at the Maskeraden Ball in February.
    ck us out: http://www.saengerbund.org.
    Vielen Dank.

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