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Meet Constance Cleveland, the Jill-of-all-Trades at Behnkes

Constance on the job.

You could run into Constance anywhere in our Beltsville store because she works in all departments, as needed, which for her helps keep the job interesting. “Never a dull day,” and all that.

Life before Behnkes

Unlike her co-workers (Orion and Christopher) Constance is anything BUT locally grown.  Her dad was a Foreign Service officer and she grew up in Athens, Greece. (Cool!)  Back in the U.S., she studied art in New York City, and her first career was in the museum world there, and later in Minneapolis.

What led her to the D.C. area was her parents’ move here after her father’s retirement in the mid-’90s  She soon discovered there were no jobs to be had here in her field, so decided to start a second career doing post-production work for television.

Sounds exciting, but at the end of the day she just wanted to be outdoors, not in an office, so for her third career she sought work in nature , and came to work at Behnkes in 2010.

Her Gardening Life

The change to gardening was a career move but actually the combining of her work and off-work lives because she’s always grown plants of various types and her parents were avid gardeners.  How avid?  All the family vacations were to visit gardens!  Her dad was an orchid hobbyist, and their house was so filled with plants it could be mistaken for a greenhouse.

So what’s her Hyattsville garden like now?  Mostly perennials, shade-loving ones, and all natives – because of her passion for wildlife.   She’s gotten rid of almost all of her front lawn and has plans to rid the lawn in the back next.

Her Non-Gardening Life
Yes, she has one, and it’s all-nature-all-the-time.  Constance volunteers for City Wildlife and for the Washington Animal Rescue League, where her husband works.  (That’s one of this blog-writer’s favorite non-profits – the go-to place for all my cats.)  He’s also an avid birder.

Posted by Susan Harris.

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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