In January, three sisters uprooted their lives to grow flowers in Colorado Springs.
The historic Venetucci Farm was forced to suspend operations in 2017 after the contamination of their primary water source. The new iteration of Venetucci Farm has arrived years later: an urban flower farm and event venue, managed by Nikki McComsey and Leah and Abby Remacle.
The flower farm, Gather Mountain Blooms, has a five-year property lease. “We’ve really dedicated five years of our lives to do this,” says Nikki. She and her sisters grew up in Nebraska. Between them, they have an array of work experience and interests: hair styling, loss prevention, nonprofit management and accounting.
“How many times in our lives would it ever [have worked] that the three of us could basically stop what we were doing and start a flower farm?” Nikki says. “Yeah, it sounds crazy.”
But Gather Mountain Blooms is about more than just flowers. When Nikki suffered a concussion a few years ago, flowers played an integral role in her healing process. “[M]y husband had been bringing me home flowers, and it was just the sweetest thing and the best demonstration of love.” This feeling stuck. She took an online flower farming course and started growing in her backyard. It wasn’t long before she was looking to expand her garden and came across Venetucci Farm.
“The three of us, as sisters, we kind of knew we wanted to do something together, but we never knew what that thing would be,” says Nikki. “And then, this just happened at the right time in all of our lives that we just jumped right in together.”
What is now Gather Mountain Blooms, with zinnias, sunflowers and sweet peas, was once a vacant field — “with weeds up to your knees,” says Leah.
Since then, it’s been a learning curve. “When I think back to day one, it was like, Nikki was showing me how to plant a seed,” says Abby, who currently oversees farming and operations. “And now we have like 10,000 seeds that have grown into flowers in our field.”
The flower farm, which opened officially on July 16, has a You-Pick field (where visitors can pick their own flowers) and various themed events (like “Yoga and Flowers”). At the farm store, fresh bouquets and other goods are available through September.
The sisters want Gather Mountain Blooms to be an experience — not just a destination for dining table centerpieces. “Sometimes I think it would be a lot easier if we were just a flower farm,” says Leah. “Where all we had to do is just like, go out, grow flowers, work in the field and sell them. But because we’re creating a flower farm that’s also a full experience, we’re thinking of: What is experienced the moment they park the car and walk out? What does that start to look like? What does it feel like?”
“[W]e feel very deeply in our hearts that this place, the farm and the flowers, is really a symbol of bringing people together and sharing experiences that are really memorable — and having flowers be at the center of that,” says Nikki. “None of us have ever dreamed up like, ‘I’m gonna have a career in flowers,’ but that’s a really great medium to do the thing that we most want to do, which is be focused on people.”
Colorado Burlesque Festival
The last day of the festival, Saturday, July 24, will star Miss Dirty Martini, a classically trained American burlesque dancer, emcee Fannie Spankings and performers from across the country. Held at the EXDO Event Center, 1399 35th St. in Denver, CBF aims to “honor the American tradition of sensational live theater.” General admission is $25. For tickets and more info, go to coloradoburlesquefestival.com.
She Loves Me
‘Considered by many to be the most charming musical ever written,” She Loves Me is about two perfumery clerks, Amalia and Georg, who both respond to a newspaper’s lonely hearts advertisement. Love letters are exchanged, but the identities of their admirers remain unknown. This Youth Repertory Ensemble production will take place on the FAC’s outdoor stage, 30 W. Dale St., Thursday, July 29, through Sunday, Aug. 1, at 8 p.m. Go to fac.coloradocollege.edu/theatre-events for tickets ($10) and more info.
The Colorado Mud Run
Get muddy at the 10th annual Colorado Mud Run. Ways you can experience “the thrill of mud,” according to BIG DOG BRAG: “Splash, crash, run, crawl, laugh, slide, walk, or do your own style of doggie dash.” There are options for either the 5K course with 25 obstacles or the 2K with 12, or multiple laps. All participants will receive a finisher dog tag, commemorative bib, event photos and a beer coupon (if over 21). Saturday, July 31, at RAM Off-Road Park, 12800 Highway 94. Tickets ($39-$59) and more info at bigdogbrag.com.