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Leelanau Lavender Breezes

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Leelanau Lavender Breezes is a 13 acre lavender garden on the scenic Leelanau Peninsula of the Great Lakes State of Michigan.

The proximity to beautiful Lake Michigan creates a nurturing microclimate* and Lake Effect snowfall ** for growing a wide variety of lavender. We are near the 45th Parallel, as is Provence, France, a part of the Mediterranean world where this herb is native. The Leelanau Peninsula is rolling farm country and for decades, has reigned royally as THE top Cherry producer in the United States. In addition, apples, pears, apricots, peaches, asparagus, potatoes and grapes thrive in abundance in this full four-season state. The Leelanau Peninsula is a huge draw for tourists, especially in the summer as families are captivated by the miles of pristine beaches, bicycle tours, golfing, sailing and fishing. It is a warm and welcoming visit around the peninsula's scenic loop and a breathtaking feast for the eyes when the cherry blossoms bloom in the spring! We have included many of the wonderful places to visit on our Resources Page with links.

** The Cedar, Michigan microclimate and Lake Effect Snowfall were large considerations when determining whether lavender would love living here. A couple of special considerations of the environment:

*Microclimate: The Cedar, MI “macroclimate” is due to the close proximity to the warming effects of Lake Michigan and the rolling sand dunes in the area. The specific “ microclimate” is well suited for growing lavender as the plants usually receive plenty of snowfall in the winter to protect them from the cold weather. The amount of rainfall is more than normally expected for lavender, but again, with the deep sand base terrain nestled in between large hills it is a perfect location to allow the fields to drain well and the lavender to use only the water it needs.

How finely do you want to slice the microclimate pie? The climate over the lawn is different than the climate over the driveway. “The term refers to the vertical layer of atmosphere from the surface to a height where the underlying surface no longer has an effect.” Mercury News , Jan Null. If your land is adjacent to a creek, river, lake, ocean it will be different than if adjacent to flat land, hills, mountains. Also to consider are the temperature, rainfall, growing season, humidity, ground slope, elevations water and vegetation masses, snowfall and close buildings. The Koppen climate system developed in the early 20 th century takes into account the average annual and monthly temperatures and precipitation of an area and spells out five major climatic types – each of these regions is then divided into sub-regions. Macroclimate conditions are a consequence of belonging to a certain latitude and region.

  • Type A = tropical moist

  • Type B = dry

  • Type C = moist mid-latitude with mild winters

  • Type D = moist mid-latitude with severe winters

  • Type E = polar

Another system developed by the US Dept. of Agriculture uses a 20-zone plant “hardiness” scale which looks at only the average minimum temperatures for regions across the US as the defining factor, see http://www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/ushzmap.html

** Lake Effect Snowfall: Successful lavender farming in Michigan requires that the plants be covered with snow in the winter to protect them from icy winds and frigid temperatures. The warm Great Lake waters, sandy soil and heavy snowfall of the Leelanau Peninsula are wonderful conditions for beautiful lavender. During the late autumn and winter, when cold arctic air sweeps across the Great Lakes of North America, snow squalls may form along the lee shores of the Lakes. These squalls can bring locally heavy snowfalls with reduced visibility to a relatively small area. Often, while squalls hit one area, blue skies prevail several kilometers away. Lake-effect snows are not restricted to the Great Lakes shorelines, but are most common and heaviest there. The snow forms when cold air, passing for long distances over the relatively warm waters of a large lake, picks up moisture and heat and is then forced to drop the moisture in the form of snow upon reaching the downwind shore. Lake-effect snows are most common over the Great Lakes region because these large bodies of water can hold their summer heat well into the winter, rarely freeze over and provide the long fetch which allows the air to gain the heat and moisture required to fuel the snow squalls.

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