Our next garden club to feature and heap praise on is one that’s had a long association with Behnkes – the Beltsville Garden Club. That’s actually in evidence right on their website, which tells us that several of the club’s annual Peach Festivals were hosted by Albert Behnke himself. “Behnke gave tours of his own garden, proudly displaying his roses and three-pound Belgium tomatoes.”
The club was started in 1952 by men (yes, it was originally all men) who were scientists at nearby University of Maryland the USDA. And when women did join, they stuck to flower arranging, rather than actual digging in the dirt. (How times change!)
There are 220 members and dues are still just $10 per year per family. Members include some in the horticulture or gardening professions, and plenty of knowledgeable, passionate gardeners.
- Regular meetings , open to the public and free of charge, are held on the 4th Wednesday during the months of January, February, March, April, May, September and October.
- Special trips are scheduled in the summer months – in recent years to Chanticleer Garden, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, and Longwood Gardens.
- An Annual Winter Banquet is held at the first Wednesday in December.
- The club has two public plant sales every year, in April and May.
- In August there’s the aforementioned Peach Festival/Annual Potluck Picnic.
- And occasionally, members tour local public or private gardens.
- Club members maintain a fully equipped greenhouse and landscaped courtyard at the Duckworth School. The greenhouse plants are sold at the club’s plant sales, and all proceeds go to the school.
- The club established a scholarship program with the U.Md’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources to support a student studying horticulture.
- The club participates in local greening projects like clean-ups and the planting of street trees.
Posted by Susan Harris.