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Blooming in Castle Pines

By Carin R. Kirkegaard; photos by Lynn Zahorik and courtesy of Scott James Photography

Photo of Local gardener Amy Dismuke (right) and her daughter Ann

Local gardener Amy Dismuke (right) and her daughter Ann create bouquets of dahlias, zinnias and snapdragons – all grown in Dismuke’s garden in Castle Pines.

Amy Dismuke may have moved from her home in Lone Tree to Castle Pines just a little more than a year ago, but her roots in the community are well established.

The mother of three children (now adults), Dismuke would drive into Castle Pines when her children were young to attend DCS Montessori (DCSM). When her daughter Ann bought a home in Parker and took a teaching job at DCSM, it seemed like the most natural fit to move to the community she’d been visiting for years.

The move also provided Dismuke with the space to nurture her passion for growing dahlias, a tuberous perennial known for dramatic blooms. While living in Lone Tree, she was able to plant and grow the flowers in a community garden. Now she had the space needed right in her own backyard with her helpers close by. Ann helps her mom in the garden whenever she gets the chance, and she brings her two boys ages 3 and 6 to help.

Dahlias are native to Mexico and Central America and prefer a rich well-drained soil – not the clay found in Colorado. Nor do they like the cold ground. Growers in Colorado either treat dahlias like an annual flower, letting them freeze in the ground after the summer, or more ambitious gardeners can dig up the tubers and winter them in a cool dry place.

Photo of Amy Dismuke and her daughter Ann inspecting flowers.

Amy Dismuke and her daughter Ann tenderly stake and prune the majestic dahlias that serve as the signature flower in the bouquets Blooming Acre sells from its pop-up flower shop.

Needless to say, growing dahlias in Colorado is not user friendly. Dismuke says she has 72 tubers in her garden. “I love fooling around with them,” she laughed. Although she agrees it takes work. “It’s a cold job,” she said about digging up the tubers in the fall. Dismuke said you have to wait until the first frost. You can’t dig them up on one of those warm fall days that harkens back to summer. Then you need to take the hose and rinse the dirt off and divide the tubers. She said over the course of the growing season, one tuber can have as many as five to 13 tubers – anything with an eye can be divided to become its own plant next spring. “It’s a labor of love,” she said.

That first summer after the move, when her dahlias were in full bloom, Dismuke sold them at the end of her driveway. Recognizing an opportunity to grow a business along with her flowers, Dismuke purchased a trailer. With the help of her sister, they retrofitted it so she could take her show on the road, and The Blooming Acre pop-up flower shop was born.

Now, The Blooming Acre is selling Dismuke’s dahlias along with zinnias and snapdragons for accents locally on Sundays at The Exchange Coffee House on the east side of Castle Pines in The Canyons development. She can also be found at the Cherry Creek Farmers Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Dismuke offers a monthly subscription where she will create a bouquet for pickup once a week, either at one of her pop-up locations or she will provide a porch pickup in Castle Pines.

To learn more about The Blooming Acre, visit the Instagram account @thebloomingacre.



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