Auburn garden blossoms into lavender business

When Sheri Dingmon first planted the seeds to her retail nursery business four years ago, she never imagined it would grow like it has.

Dingmon farm doing just fine with unique crop, lineup

When Sheri Dingmon first planted the seeds to her retail nursery business four years ago, she never imagined it would grow like it has.

Her quaint farm that rests on the scenic Enumclaw Plateau has blossomed into a popular spot for those seeking a resource for lavender products, unusual plants and garden art.

“It has grown leaps and bounds,” Dingmon said from the confines of her expanded gift shop at Mountain View Lavender Farm in rural Auburn. “I thought it would be a tiny venue … but we expanded greatly. It has become so much more than I ever expected.”

The farm, spread over 1.25 acres and located off Highway 164, has become a go-to destination for experts, enthusiasts and casual gardeners.

The grounds hold an assortment of plants, with a third of the property devoted exclusively to a wide variety of lavender. The farm supports more than 50 types of lavender – primarily harvested for fragrance and decorating needs – and come in all colors, from white and pink, to blue and purple.

“Lavender is easy to grow, easy to take care of,” Dingmon said. “It knows no pests.”

The fact that Sheri and her husband, Gale, offer a uniqueinventory has struck a chord with their clientele.

The Dingmons’ seasonal business served about 2,000 customers last year. They hope to do even better this year with an hardy lineup and expanded gift shop. They officially open for business Thursday.

Inspired by exquisite lavender farms of Sequim, the Dingmons began to plant the shrub in their yard several years ago. With little or no shade, the lavender took root and flourished. By the fall of 2004, their unused horse pastures started becoming lavender fields.

“I knew I wasn’t going to get rich, but I knew I was going to be happy,” said Sheri, who worked at Boeing for 30 years before starting the business. “I found this to be very fun.

“My heart was in horticulture,” she said. “I could have stayed at Boeing, but Gale said, ‘Let’s put this field to use.’ ”

Gale helps with the harvest when he isn’t connected to his job at Boeing. He is an extension of his wife’s passion.

“Sheri grew up on a farm in Kent, so she just loves gardening,” Gale added.

Today, the Dingmons are busy cutting, hanging and drying the lavender each July. The harvest brings good results in fresh and dried lavender, sachet and culinary lavender buds.

The Dingmons invite families to come out and spend time to stroll the fields, visit the farm animals, peruse the gift shop and even have lunch.

“It’s fun,” Sheri said. “People shopping for plants rarely show up in a bad mood.”