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Meet Stephanie Fleming

stephanie fleming

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. 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. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

When Sonja and her family moved away from Beltsville, Stephanie again found herself working for Walnut Springs Nursery, a wholesale grower in Howard County, Maryland. It was here that she met her husband, Jon. Together they opened their own wholesale nursery, The Hillside Nursery. They were well known for supplying many garden centers and landscapers around the area with their annuals, pansies, mums, and poinsettias. They operated for 27 years while raising their two children.

In 2007 Stephanie came to Behnke’s to work full time. Jon and Stephanie realized that the 80 hour a week lifestyle of the greenhouse grower was more romantic in your twenties and thirties than in your fifties. Stephanie served as Vice President of Behnke Nurseries till the nursery closed in 2019. During this time, she was the buyer for the Christmas Shop and was a marketing/advertising team member.

Her work in the marketing and advertising department allowed her to help coordinate Behnke Nurseries’ social media platforms. It worked closely with the nursery’s webmaster, Larry Bristow. If you read the Behnke Blog, you have undoubtedly come across Stephanie, as she was the inspiration behind the weekly newsletter and blog.

Outside of her work with the nursery, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her family, including her three grandchildren. When her first grandchild was born, she took on the name Oma. She and her husband have taken up walking each morning and enjoy taking in nature at local parks. Stephanie loves connecting with gardening groups to talk about the history of Behnke Nurseries.

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!!!

  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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