fbpx skip to Main Content

Blow Your Horn

Behnke Nurseries was started in 1930 by my grandparents and the original name of the company was The Albert Behnke Nursery.  Here are some photos of our original selling area. Yup, right out there on US 1. As you can see, my mother and uncles would be right there helping, with cars and trains running by. People would pull over on US 1 to buy small bunches of plants or shrubs. Or you could get gladiolas for 45 cents a bunch! And if no one was in sight you just had to blow your horn and someone would come running.

The location of this selling area is about where our houseplant house is now. Further back, behind the shack, my grandfather built a small house for my grandmother to raise their family in while keeping the business going.

That’s US 1!

So much hard work went into creating Behnke Nurseries back in the early years, but  a lot of memories were also made. My mother and uncles have shared so many stories about growing up with this hard- working German. He was a very hard task master and demanded quality in whatever was being done. But the children also got to play right along with their parents.

Life might have been hard back then but maybe it was really a lot more simple. Playing in the dust and muck, fishing in the pond, finding big old bull frogs and creating forts. All done in between the chores they had to do (I think the boys got the bad end of that deal since in most of the photos my mom seemed to always be dancing or playing while her brothers were working).

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 4 Comments

  1. I LOVED seeing the pictures of the early Behnke’s. I moved to Beltsville in Aug. 1957 before the start of 5th grade and lived there with my parents until I got married in 1971. My father was the gardener in the family and he would drive to Behnke’s to get his plants and seeds. He got my sister and I interested in gardening. My Mother tried to garden but it wasn’t her thing–she was a book worm. I remember always going to Behnke’s the back way through Beltsville so that we wouldn’t have to go out on Route 1. That street is unfortunately closed to traffic now. My parents are gone now and my sister lives in Maine. But I still live in the area and at least twice a year go back to Behnke’s to buy my plants. I wouldn’t think of going anywhere else.

  2. Thank you for sharing. I love when you write stories about the history of Behnke’s. I grew up in the area and would visit Behnke’s with my mom and dad. I don’t live in the area anymore but I still go to Behnke’s.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back To Top