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Extreme Makeover: Instant Garden For A Worthy Cause

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“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”

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Behnke Nurseries’ Landscape Design and Installation Department is proud to have been the landscaper of choice for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

On June 22 – 2008, Classic Homes of Maryland along with the crew of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” notified Felicia Jackson, a single mother who was struggling to keep all of her 10 nieces and nephews out of the foster care system, that she would receive a life-changing gift – a brand new home – in a remarkable seven days.

This episode has already aired as the two-part season premiere of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” on the ABC Television Network September 28, 2008 7pm.

With the help of many partners, vendors, subcontractors and hundreds of volunteers, the building and landscaping for Ms. Felicia Jackson and her family was completed in an incredible four days. Representing Behnke Nurseries, designer Andrea Becerril and installation supervisor Mike Wilson spearheaded the landscaping effort. In addition to the paid landscape crews provided by Behnke Nurseries, a number of Behnke Nurseries employees also volunteered their time to bring this worthy project in on time.


Behnke Design & Landscape crews worked over 570 hours, at times 24 hours straight, often in downpours. In-between filmings they were able to complete the plantscaping and hardscaping early on the morning of the “Big Reveal”. Mike Wilson, said that “Being a part of this project was very fulfilling on a personal level, and one I will never forget.” He worked tirelessly throughout the 4 days to make sure everything went as scheduled.

Before production even started, Mike was instrumental in pulling together vendors and suppliers so the project could go smoothly. He was impressed at the willingness of everyone he contacted to help donate supplies and time. Andrea Becerril was so excited when Behnke Nurseries was given the opportunity to be part of this project. She was honored to be asked to design the landscaping for the Jackson’s new home. Andrea said she will always remember seeing in person the speed of the demolition, building and landscape installation, from Monday, when the house came down to Sunday when the Jackson family came home. It was simply amazing! Andrea even had her husband come to help volunteer as the hours counted down.

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Bill Mann, Manager, Behnkes Landscaping
Mike & Andrea
Mike Wilson
John Butler

Besides drawing the landscape plan, which incorporated a back yard patio complete with an outdoor fireplace, the front driveway, and parking area, Andrea worked with the crews making sure everything was perfect. Bill Mann, Director of Behnke Nurseries’ Landscape Division said “Giving back has always been part of what Behnke Nurseries is all about, but to be able to do it together with so many others was truly a once in a life time experience.” Bill has been part of the Behnke family for over 25 years and was very impressed and proud of how much time and effort Andrea, Mike and the crews devoted to make this all happen.

Besides the landscaping department, Behnke Nurseries’ Garden Center was also able to help out with many aspects of the project, from the many employees and their families who gave of their time to the employees who stayed back to keep the company running. Everyone was very happy to be part of this experience and cannot wait for the show to air!

Behnke Nurseries would also like to thank their many generous suppliers, who donated plants, stone, and landscaping materials to supplement the donation of labor and materials by Behnke Nurseries. Behnke Nurseries is a family and employee-owned Maryland corporation, founded in Beltsville, Maryland by Albert and Rose Behnke in 1930. Locations include a garden center and landscape department at Beltsville, MD.

For more information on the Jackson Family and Classic Homes involvement in this project, visit Classic Homes of Maryland. You can also view a slide show of some of the many pictures that were taken by  spectators, family, friends and volunteers on the job site. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Photo Album.

Behnke Nurseries would like to thank all of the people and business that contributed to the landscaping for The Jackson Family. The time, guidance, expertise, labor and materials from them made this project a reality. Without them, we could not have accomplished as much as we did.

The generosity and kindness of the following organizations and individuals helped make this dream come true for The Jackson Family of Poolsville, MD:

• Central Sod of Maryland ~ Donated all the sod
• Earnest Maier ~ Donated the Block and Stone
• Lafrge ~ Donated all the gravel plus delivered it to the site
• EP Henry ~ Donated the Pavers
• Nightscaping ~ Donated all the outdoor lighting plus helped install it
• Country Springs ~ Donated some large foundation plants
• Landscape Development ~ Wow! Donated the Extreme Tree
• Montgomery Environmental ~ Donated all the Leafgro used in the landscaping
• McFall & Berry Landscape Management ~ Donated a crew of workers to help install the sod but ended up helping with a lot more
• Monrovia Nurseries ~ Donated two beautiful Crepe Myrtles
• Stadlers Nurseries ~ Donated some wonderful landscape shrubs
• Chesapeake Supply ~ Donated a Dingo!

Plus we would like to add another BIG THANKS to all of our employees that went over and beyond to make this happen. Volunteering their time and in some cases their families everyone worked together and this amazing project was finished on time!

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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