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Behnke’s Demo Coming To An End

Demo of Behnke Boiler May 2022
Demo of Behnke Boiler May 2022

Demo Is Almost Done

As I write this, I am sure the last remaining building is coming down at Behnke’s. It has been a surreal few weeks as more photos have arrived and different structures have come down. I could not even figure out what some of the images were of. I was so disoriented.


I have been keeping all the photos in different folders and made some slide shows for my family to see the enormity of what was Behnke Nurseries and, finally, the empty 12 acres as it awaits whatever future it holds.


Some pictures hit me harder than others. While seeing our beautiful Houseplant Greenhouse come down, it was not as hard to see as the old steps leading up to the attic above the back restroom where I used to play/hide as a little girl. Maybe the reason was that houseplant greenhouse replaced the original African Violet house that I remember as a child.


I already wrote of the home I grew up in, being the first to go, but those steps, WOW! the flood of memories. Watching how that big piece of equipment could knock out a whole wall on the Dawnrose block building with one swipe was bizarre. When my friend, Officer Kenneth Hibbert, sent me the photo of that big machine taking a hunk out of the warehouse, I knew I was glad I decided not to go back until it was all over.

A Throw Back Thursday Video

Here is a Throw Back Thursday Video. So many that worked for us had a love-hate relationship with the old Boiler that kept our greenhouses warm in the Winter. If you lived in that little brick house, you were expected to get up and fix (kick) it when the alarm went off. We all wondered how the demo crew was going to remove it. It was a piece of cake for that monster of a machine. But way back in the ’50s, when my grandfather, Albert Behnke, installed it, a group of guys put it in by hand. Watch the YouTube video below.


Many of you have been driving by, taking photos, and remembering what once was on social media. Even three years after we closed, I still hear the heartbreak in what some of you write. While all of our feelings are real, I do understand that seeing it come down makes your sad.

Support Local Independent Garden Centers

I want to let you know that while there will never be another Behnke Nurseries, there are other garden centers with so much to offer. They put just as much love into what they built as we did. Their employees love what they do as much as ours did. And their customers are as loyal as you were to Behnke’s. I only hope you find another place to love as much as you did Behnke’s.

The Behnke Boiler 1956 and 1963

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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