Friday, October 3, 2014

A Visit to Behnke's Nursery

On Tuesday of last week, after a meeting with our lawyer to work on some estate planning, we decided to stop at Behnke's Nurseries in Beltsville, MD.  Behnke's is a well established nursery which has been in business in Beltsville now for over 80 years.  Some history as taken from the webpage:

The History of Behnkes


The story of Behnke Nurseries is the epitome of the American Dream. A young man from Germany immigrated to the United States to seek a better life for himself while carrying on the family tradition. Now a local landmark, Behnke Nurseries began over 80 years ago in Beltsville, Maryland through the hard work and determination of that young man, Albert Behnke, and his wife Rose.
Sonja Behnke Festerling (1964)Early Behnke Nurseries (around 1939)Rose Behnke (1963)



This is a photo of Albert Behnke Nurseries, as it was called in the beginning. In the distance you can see the
Lewis Family home, which is still there on Wicomico Ave. Behnke Nurseries is still located on this property
in Beltsville, Maryland on US 1. (1931)
Albert & Rose Behnke (L) (1931) - The Garden of Albert and Rose Behnke (R) (1971)

We have  been customers for many, many years.  It was a Tuesday around 11:30 AM and we had the store to ourselves.  Enjoy our walk through.


The red barn doors are new.  And I think a very nice touch.  Very inviting.


Just to the left of the entrance were tables filled with the most beautiful mums.  We got some burgundy colored.


And to the right was this beautiful display.  They are so creative.


A picture of the most beautiful white mums.


Inside the store, they are all set up for Halloween.


I really liked this hollowed out log with the weekly sales flyers.  Very cute.


Bulbs.  They had bulbs by the dozen.  It's time to start planning what bulbs you want to plant. Although the weather is still a little on the warmish side, at least here in the mid-Atlantic, you can buy them and just hold them in the house until things cool off.  I don't like to plant them too early. For our zone, it is recommended that we plant October - November.  If things do not soon cool off consistently here, I will most definitely be planting in November.


I started my collection this year with narcissus, crocus and parrot tulips.  Have you seen parrot tulips? If not, you must go online and type into Google, "Parrot Tulips."  They are the most extraordinary flowers you have ever laid eyes on.  If you can get your hands on some parrot tulip bulbs, by all means, do so.

Of course, a bag of Bulb-Tone is an essential.  This helps to feed the bulbs so that when spring comes you will have vibrant and showy blooms.  When I first started gardening, many years ago, I would plant bulbs every year in little pots and place them on the patio outside my little apartment.  In the spring they would pop up through the soil and I would be so excited to see what was to come.  I would end up with weak looking stems and lackluster blooms.  Very disappointing.  As the years progressed and my knowledge of gardening grew, I found Bulb-Tone.  Now, I have the most spectacular blooms on the block.  So it's a good thing you are a regular reader of WTCA.  Now you will not have to endure those years of poor performing bulbs like I did.


And a bag of blue/purple/white hyacinth.  The bag says "blends of beauty."  I wholeheartedly concur. What a magnificent and fragrant garden these will make.


Continuing through the store I found these fanciful moss covered slipper-shaped planters. I did not buy them.  I don't know why.  I may go back and pick up a few of these.  They would be really cute to have for floral arrangements at a party.


Lastly, I found this interesting hanging pot.  It is hard to describe what the material is that was used to make this.  It has the feel of clay.  But I'm not certain that it is clay.  It certainly seems very durable, like it will not disintegrate after a year or two.  The design is very simplistic and that is what caught my eye.  Let the plant bring the color and movement and texture.  The container should be as simple as, ... well, ... this.  No filigree.  No decorative chains.  Simple.  Less is certainly more in this example.


Outside of the simplicity of the design, the next thing that was important to me was that it is self-watering.  We have summers here where we are nearly devoid of rainfall.  Keeping the landscape going in those years can be a challenge.  This self watering feature is really wonderful.


This poor vine finally bit the dust.  Steven bought it early in the season and it was not removed from the original plastic container it came in from the garden center.  These plastic containers in which we buy most of our plants were never meant to be used long-term.  The plant needs to be removed as soon as possible after getting it home.  The root system needs to be separated and then the plant needs to be planted in a suitable container with fresh potting soil and preferably some form of fertilizer. But only fertilize while the plant is in the growing season.  I'm sure the soil in the original pot was depleted of nutrients and that is part of the reason why this did not make it.  But, no matter.  We have a new pot so we will find something colorful and plant it over the weekend.  Be sure and come back next week to see our progress.
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