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Gardening Basics: Spring Showcase

Simply Put – A Chance to Learn, A Time to Buy

It’s still a little soggy out there for planting, but it’s a great time to buy plants and supplies, and to gather information. Stop by our Beltsville garden this Saturday and get answers to your gardening questions at our Spring Showcase. If you want to learn how to improve water quality and reduce runoff to the Bay, Carole Ann Barth of the Chesapeake Conservation Landscape Council will be on hand to answer questions about home-landscape Rain Gardens.


If you are a new vegetable gardener, who better to pose your gardening questions to than the Prince George’s County Master Gardeners? Master Gardeners are passionate about gardening, and love to answer questions. They can help with pruning and other topics as well, and can tell you how you yourself could become a master gardener. Note that the garden center has a great selection of cool-season vegetables to choose from, along with some herbs for your kitchen. This will give you props to wave around as you play “Stump the Master Gardeners.”

Let’s say you want to replace an area of your lawn with ground cover, or place ground cover plants between stepping stones. Stepables ground cover plants may be what you are looking for. Sandy McDougal of Sandy’s Plants in Virginia will be at Beltsville from 10 to 2 to answer questions about Stepables or any of the other of the thousands of perennials she has grown over the years. We will have an assortment of Stepables in stock.

If you are like me, you may find it’s easy doing some activities in the garden, but not others. I, for instance, have a hard time getting up once I get down on my knees to take time to smell the flowers; or pull the weeds. Laren and Naudia from Allsports Physiotherapy Associates of Greenbelt will be on hand to show you how to make garden exercise less painful and more productive.

What’s the best organic fertilizer for your garden? Find out more about Espoma brand organic fertilizers and other products. You have probably used some of their fertilizers over the years, such as Holly Tone or Plant Tone. Espoma will have an expert here to answer any questions you may have. We also will have a representative of Leaf-Gro, organic compost made right here in Maryland. Ever wonder where all those leaves you bagged up last fall go to? Think “Leaf-Gro.”

If you want to discuss the landscape of your dreams, or want to have someone come to your home to offer landscape advice, then stop by the information tables sponsored by Behnke Nurseries’ Landscape Department and Behnke Nurseries’ Garden Advisor.

If you can sit still on our first warm Saturday, and you are a hard-core plant collector who dreams about new and unusual plants, consider attending the lecture at Behnke’s at Beltsville presented by by Oregon nurseryman Sean Hogan at 10AM, sponsored by the Four Seasons Garden Club. Our woody plant manager says that the slide list is so unusual, that we can pretty much guarantee that we won’t have any of them in stock. Very cutting edge. We are very lucky to have Sean available to speak; he is a nationally known speaker and author.

Something fun for kids and adults, BUMBA ~ Bowie-Upper Marlboro Beekeepers Association, will be here and if the bees are behaving will have a demonstration honey bee hive. Learn about bees, beekeeping, honey, pollination and all things honeybee!

A special food vendor will be on hand for the event, with heavenly sandwiches available from Sweet Saviour-y BBQ. Our first shipments of perennials have arrived, so if you have been waiting for Hellebores, heucheras or creeping phlox, they are now in stock. Woody plants are rolling in now as well with many trees and shrubs along with fruit trees and berry bushes, and we have our full complement of seed and seed-starting supplies. Plus, beautiful cool-weather loving pansies are in. Spring, it would appear, has sprung.

Larry Hurley, perennials specialist for Behnke Nurseries (now retired), started with Behnke’s in1984. Larry enjoys travel, food and photography. He and his wife Carolyn have visited Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Brazil, South Korea and much of Europe. Their home is on a shady lot where a lot of perennials have met their Maker over the years.

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