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Meet Stephanie Fleming – Vice President of Behnke Nurseries

Stephanie Fleming, Behnke Nurseries VP

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s in Beltsville, under the watchful eye of mother Sonja Behnke Festerling, and the doting eyes of grandparents Albert and Rose Behnke. 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.

Stephanie met her husband Jon when they were working for Al Smith, a wholesale greenhouse grower near Mount Airy. It was love at first sight, and they married soon after. They opened their own wholesale greenhouse operation, Hillside Nursery, growing annuals, pansies, mums and poinsettias, and ran it for 27 years, while raising two wonderful children, Steven and Jaimie, both of whom are now public school teachers.

Seven years ago, Stephanie came to Behnke’s to work full time, when she and Jon realized that the 80 hour a week lifestyle of the greenhouse grower was more romantic in your twenties than your fifties.

Stephanie is Vice-President of Behnke Nurseries, and fills a number of roles. She is the buyer for our Christmas Shop, and is a member of the marketing/advertising team. She coordinates our social media outreach program, working with webmaster Larry Bristow. You may know her from our e-newsletter, which she creates each week. She writes a weekly article for the e-news, and through her articles we catch a glimpse of what’s going on with the Behnke Nurseries’ Family and Employees. If you read her articles, you will know that she is also the proudest grandmother in the world.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Ah, Stephanie, loved your photos and piece about Aaron, as well as, of course, the ramble through his rose bushes with your grandfather–

    It’s so wonderful that you are home at Behnke’s, writing wonderful blogs for customers like me. Thank you!

  2. Hello
    Its on my to do list now! Thanks
    I recommend District Clay or Hinckley Pottery for a Try it Class for throwing pottery….although need at least one round of classes to get to finished product there.

  3. Just love “Charlie Chaplin” peeking thru the window searching for spring under the snow!!!
    Christine

  4. Good morning Stephanie. I started at Behnke Nursery when I was 15 in 1975. I think I was there for about 4 years. I was blessed to be picked by your grandfather to work at his house in Burtenville when I was very young. I worked with your mom, Joseph, Leo, the Gardeners, Alfred and my boss Helmut. I went on to a short stent with Chapel Valley Landscaping and when they laid off most for the winter I hired on to build your Greenhouses in Largo. Then came back and build your glass houses behind the office for Roland. Now I am in my 40 th year of building Greenhouses while owning my own company for 15 years. My sister owns an organic farm near middleton Md and sent me this info that you were closing. If Alfred and Helmut and your mom are still around please express my thanks for starting me in this direction. My life has been really profitable in this industry. I always talk to people at trade shows and say I got my start putting glass on a new Greenhouse in 1976 because I was the youngest at Behnke. I still recall the cold winter mornings with everyone mentions potting up roses with no heat in the big ware house. I remember your grand father telling me how many times the went to the hours races to win money just to keep the business running. He was the ultimate in the American dream which I will always remember life lessons that he thought me while working in his garden. I wish you all the luck in the world you come from a great family and great employees. Steve Leitzel

    1. Hi Steve
      Wow! I can’t believe I missed this comment you wrote. I will let Alfred know you asked for him. Once in a while at the nursery, I see him. We just walk around with our masks one and look at what once was. Mom has trouble remembering things, but I will be sure to mention you. She is still married to Joe Festerling. I am so glad you had such good memories of the nursery. I only wish you could have come to our employee goodbye party we had the day after closing in June of 2019. What fun that was with people coming from all over the country and world to say goodbye. Amazing that my grandparents started something that touched so many lives.
      Take care, and thank you for writing. I am just sorry it took me so long to respond.

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