Many of you know of long-time Behnke employee Helmut, especially if you were a Behnke customer 15 years or more ago. Even after he retired, Helmut could be found most days wandering around the nursery, giving advice to all (including us) on what trees and shrubs would work best in our gardens. Pushing a cart–always with some must-have plants on it–he loved to share his passion for gardening.
One of the highlights of the past few years would be when he opened their “Little Arboretum” as he called it for us to come out and enjoy. He and his wife Linda would spend many hours tending these gardens at their home.
Last May I got a phone call from Linda that just made me stop. What many might not know is Helmut, besides being such a big part of Behnke Nurseries was also a big part of my life. I met him when I was just two years old. He came to Behnke’s as a young man and lived in the basement of our home. That would be that old little brick house on the nursery.
When his wife told me that he was in shock trauma with a broken neck from a fall down his basement stairs, I just could not really take it all in. Helmut? The tough old German that always had a smile for everyone? The good news is, however, that he is now back home. After months and months of hospitals and rehabilitation, he came home in August.
I went to visit him the other day and was amazed at his recovery. He showed me how great he can walk and talk and while he does not really remember much of the early days after the fall, he does give thanks for his wife and the strength she had in helping him get better. Of course, most of all he gave thanks that the whole time he was laid up, she kept up with their garden.
I did a short little interview with him since I was not able to get his thoughts before we closed in June. One thing about our Helmut, he loves to talk about the good old days and his customers. I hope you enjoy this video as much as I enjoyed seeing him pretty much like his old self. And of course, notice he is wearing his Behnke shirt! Gotta love him and I do!
By Stephanie Fleming, Behnke Nurseries, VP