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Thank You for 89 Years

As I look out over the garden center, it seems like a Spring season like all the others through our 89 year history. I see a nursery full of beautiful plants and fine staff, some of whom have worked here most their lives, and I’m so proud to be a part of this wonderful organization.

But with great sadness, I must tell you that this 2019 Spring season will be our last. My family has been discussing what to do with our aging property and, for many reasons, the ultimate decision was to close the nursery.

The Behnke family and I would like to thank our wonderful customers. For three generations, our family has served your family.  Many of you came here as children with your parents or grandparents. Others are new-found friends. Through the dedication of thousands of amazing employees over the years, we’ve helped make your gardening dreams a reality. In the process it made us one of the largest and most well-known garden centers in the country.

For this Spring, we’re open and ready with everything you need for your home and garden. We hope to see all of you over the next few months and to help you find that perfect plant, so in the future you’ll remember the role we played in your gardening journey. Beginning today, April 4th, our entire store will be on sale. Our Closing Sale will continue until sometime in June when we will sadly close our gates for the last time.

Thank you all for 89 amazing years.

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 26 Comments

  1. Thanks for the joy you provided us for over 45 years. You introduced me to the joy of gardening, and provided so much advice that hallowed us to enjoy your plants for so many years. Your spice viburnum is just beginning to flower and its scent is magical, like in its first year. It is now a mature, most elegant and big bush.
    We will miss you and always remember you.

  2. Hello Behnke family.
    I’ve missed you all these years and wish the best to all of you on your new ventures.
    Thanks for including me as part of your fabulous team for many so many years.
    Come see me in Charlottesville at Ivy Nursery if you have a chance.
    Love to all.
    Irene Herring Volenick

  3. While I no longer live in the metro area, for many years I made weekly pilgrimages to your nursery to furnish the gardens of several homes. Used to read the sale ads religiously and rush out to get whatever would fit in my car. Always appreciated the variety and scope of your plant material and could spend hours wandering the grounds. You were always my “go to” source, so glad to have the opportunity to tell you so.

    1. I am glad you have wonderful memories of Behnke’s. It has been terrific to read everyone’s comments. I have been reading them to my mother, Sonja Behnke Festerling and she has enjoyed hearing people’s memories

  4. Please tell Sonja Edward Cox , former landscape department Manager 1986 says hello. God bless Behnke Nursery Company. I love Albert and his wife. Such a institution. Say hello to Helmut and Joe Festerling please.

  5. I’m so so sad as I just finally found ‘my nursery’ and already I’m losing you. Just wanted to say the first time I came in your nursery it felt like home. I’ll be there this weekend to find my forever backyard tree so will take a piece of you with me hopefully. All the best to your family and I pray your next adventures will be even greater than the last 89 years.

    Wow ! What a legacy !

  6. Thank you for taking the time to write. Yes it is sad but we will keep this blog and our web site up and hope to inform you about where our wonderful staff ends up along with talking about the different local independent garden centers in the area.

  7. Can’t tell you how it breaks our heart to see such a fine establishment leave us. Gardening will simply not be same without Behnke. We have always turned to you for those “special” plants that no one else had, and for years have enjoyed their uniqueness. Your staff was always ready to help and “dig” for us to find that “special” something for which we were looking. Thank you very much for many years of fine, personal service.

  8. Thank you so very much for your kind words. We are going to keep the web site going and hopefully will be able to help folks find other wonderful garden centers in your area. I will also be letting people know where some of our terrific staff will be working if they choose to stay in this field

  9. Next spring, and the next, and the next… just won’t be the same.

    Thanks, and happy retirement!

  10. I remember all of the weekends that I spent at the nursery. We moved from the area returning last year. I can’t believe that I just looked up the website today and find that you’re closing. Makes me sad but it’s been a long run. Thank you so much for the memories.

  11. I am 62 years old and grew up in this area all my life. I remember going to Behnke’s as a little girl with my Aunt and Uncle, and my Grandmother quite often searching for just the right rose bush or tulip bulbs…whatever their needs were for their gardens that year. When I was old enough to start my own gardens I always went to Behnke’s when I wanted the best! Wherever I lived through the years, my gardens always had beautiful flowers thanks to Behnke’s! I’m so sad to see such a familiar place in my heart close. My gardens will never be quite the same! Behnke’s will be deeply missed!

    1. I am going to keep our blog and web site going and hope to share more information on other wonderful local independent garden centers in our area. Your right, it won’t be the same but hopefully we can all find other places to add to our gardens

  12. sorry to see you all closing i am a ex Behnke head use to work for you guys when you had the largo shop open
    ask john peter recalls me

  13. I am so so so so sad that Behnke’s is closing! Every spring for the past 20 years, we made our pilgrimage to Behnke’s to buy all our herbs and vegetable plants. They were such high-quality plants that none of them died on us (even when I forgot to water them). We loved Behnke’s so much that it was the first place we brought our newborn daughter for a visit. My parents haven’t even met her at the time, and at only two days old, we remember her playing with the plants and dirt. Thank you so much for the great memories. We just don’t know what we will do without you.

  14. I can’t believe it. Before I had the space for a garden, I always told myself someday. I would come in from time to time to dream what I could do with your products. I have loved Behnkes throughout my last 10 years since I have been able to have a garden in the Middle Atlantic.

    I already miss this place. How in the world could this end.

    Best wishes to everyone and God Speed.

  15. Thank you so much for instilling a love of gardening in me. I have wonderful memories of visiting Behnke’s with my parents, 45 or more years ago. We came every spring to load up on annuals and vegetables, and multiple times throughout summer and fall for additional gems. Even when I moved away and lived much closer to other garden centers, I always made the trek to Behnke’s for my annual haul to spruce up the yard. Best of luck to you and all the employees in the future.

  16. I just read a local newspaper article that mentions your nursery was closed a year ago. Wow. I am shock and have to look this information up to be sure. I used to go to the Behnke nursery weekly to browse the flowers and plants but also to purchase household plants many years ago. You all have the most beautiful ceramic potterry..

    There are no nurseries like yours. Thank you so much for serving the Beltsville community for so long.

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