As a business that's been around a long time, we've had many employees over the years. The holidays brought in Leo Bicknese, former Behnke's Vice President and one of Stephanie's honorary dads while growing up at the nursery. It had been over 25 years since she saw him!
I remember when my grandfather, Albert Behnke, would have thousands of tulips and daffodils planted at his home in Burtonsville. His gardens were used mostly as test gardens for different plants but he loved having big blocks of color especially along the driveway. He also planted patches of daffodils in the wooded areas surrounding his home. Each Fall he would gather employees from Behnke’s and bring them to Burtonsville for the BIG BULB PLANTING.Now for me, I love the loose, scattered look when planting bulbs but not Albert Behnke. All had to be in straight rows. Up and down and across, you better believe those rows were straight. He would tie string to posts to help everyone get them in just right.
What a sight it in early Spring when all the color would burst out! Folks would come out and drive around the property checking out all the different colors and varieties so that in the Fall they would know what they wanted for their own yards.
When I look at this old photo of their front driveway and see their home peeking out on the top, it brings back so many wonderful memories of growing up and playing there. We used to play badminton on that front lawn using the old fence as our net. Further up the driveway, near the house, were the small woods containing an old swing set where we would play when our chores were done.
This past weekend while we had the National Capital Orchid Show going on, I noticed that one of the busiest areas at the garden center was the bulb room. Carts were being loaded up with tulips, daffodils and many of the specialty bulbs we carry. Questions were being asked and answered by our knowledgeable staff and, best of all, mothers and fathers were explaining to their children that the little bulb they were holding would turn into beautiful flowers. Children love planting bulbs. I know I sure did! It was way better then weeding!
Posted by: Stephanie Fleming, Vice President, Behnke Nurseries