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I Remember When…

I remember when my grandfather, Albert Behnke, would have thousands of tulips and daffodils planted at his home in Burtonsville. His gardens were used mostly as test gardens for different plants but he loved having big blocks of color especially along the driveway.  He also planted patches of daffodils in the wooded areas surrounding his home. Each Fall he would gather employees from Behnke’s and bring them to Burtonsville for the BIG BULB PLANTING.Now for me, I love the loose, scattered look when planting bulbs but not Albert Behnke. All had to be in straight rows. Up and down and across, you better believe those rows were straight. He would tie string to posts to help everyone get them in just right.

What a sight it in early Spring when all the color would burst out! Folks would come out and drive around the property checking out all the different colors and varieties so that in the Fall they would know what they wanted for their own yards.behnke-house

When I look at this old photo of their front driveway and see their home peeking out on the top, it brings back so many wonderful memories of growing up and playing there. We used to play badminton on that front lawn using the old fence as our net.  Further up the driveway, near the house, were the small woods containing an old swing set where we would play when our chores were done.

This past weekend while we had the National Capital Orchid Show going on, I noticed that one of the busiest areas at the garden center was the bulb room.  Carts were being loaded up with tulips, daffodils and many of the specialty bulbs we carry. Questions were being asked and answered by our knowledgeable staff and, best of all, mothers and fathers were explaining to their children that the little bulb they were holding would turn into beautiful flowers. Children love planting bulbs. I know I sure did! It was way better then weeding!

Posted by: Stephanie Fleming, Vice President, Behnke 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.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. On Sunday afternoons after dinner at their house in Laurel, I would always take my mother and grandmother for a ride. One of their favorite things to do was drive up to Mr. Behnke’s and see what was blooming. So many times I drove up that driveway. If we were lucky, he or Mrs. Behnke would be outside and come over to chat. Wonderful memories.

  2. What lovely and special memories! You’ve carried on your grandfather’s legacy beautifully and there are so many generations engaged in the beauty Behnkes offers – our area is lucky to have the Behnkes as part of our landscape.

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