After 36 years in the same home, I finally had a landscape project that was beyond my skill set to accomplish. Gardens evolve over the years, and my wooded quarter acre has suffered loss of trees.
How can it be one year already? One year since we closed the gate for good. So much has happened during this year, but one thing remains the same. You! Our readers/customers and our extended Behnke family. Before the virus, some of us were meeting once a month for lunch. One of our former employees set up a private Behnke Alum group, so we all still stay in touch. He worked for us back in the ’70s! But other things have changed this year too. We have watched while piece by piece, the nursery was taken down from greenhouses to the bricks in the ground.
I stopped by this week, and while the weeds are taking over, there still were signs of a former life—the little petunias growing up through the cracks in the greenhouses. The beautiful hydrangea is blooming in all its glory out where the old gazebo stood. And amazingly in the gravel, little shrubs are growing stronger and taller each day. Even the weeping Japanese maples gave off such a stunning shock of color. As I wondered around the grounds one more time, thinking that my grandfather, Albert Behnke would be having a fit seeing all the weeds, I found one beautiful weed with a stunning purple bloom. I always loved the saying that weeds were just misunderstood perennials.
Other things have changed this year, our staff went on to find new jobs to call home. While not all in the horticulture field, I believe they will always keep a love of plants in their hearts. You, our dear customers, hopefully, have been out exploring new independent local garden centers. They are out there, I promise. You just need to give them a chance, maybe two or three chances. They need your support even more now after this season of social distancing and businesses struggling to survive.
Because of the safety measures I needed to take since I see my mother every day, I only got to see a few garden centers. Still, I have enjoyed talking to some of you that write asking questions and telling me how much they miss us. The other day I was saying to some of my family that I wish they could read all the messages of love and support I get each week.
Life is about change, and this year has been a wild one. One year later…. how did it go by so fast?
Stephanie Fleming: Beyond Behnke’s