Over the years I have shared this photo of my grandfather and his love of roses. This is perhaps my favorite picture of him because, while I have so many memories of him, this is the one that I see when I think of him.
Albert Behnke loved his roses and he loved his Rose (my grandmother). Each and every day while the roses at his Burtonsville home and garden were blooming, he would bring her a fresh bunch. Once cut, he would put them in warm buckets of water and start the process of filling the many vases around the house with the fragrant blooms. Since he would cut so many, he always left a few in the buckets of water just in case anyone stopped by. Before they left he would lay out newspaper and wrap a bundle of the fresh cut roses to give to the happy visitor, myself included!
My grandfather considered the rose gardens at their Burtonsville home to be trial gardens. He always wanted to see how new varieties would perform so he would plant them in his beautiful garden at home. He was very picky on how the roses would be cut. Not just anyone was allowed to cut roses in his garden. I can still see his arms where the thorns would nick him but he just kept on going. Guests from all over would stop by to see his gardens. Nothing he loved more than showing off his roses! He would walk along with his pruners in one hand and cane in the other, cutting blooms while naming describing each and every rose.
In 1991, News 7 came out to my grandfather’s home and taped him in his rose garden. Just watching this video, hearing his voice, makes it seem like just yesterday that we were walking together talking about this or that. I hope those of you who knew Albert Behnke will smile when you watch this short video, and that those of you who never got to meet him will take a few moments and enjoy!
by Stephanie Fleming, Behnke’s Vice President