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.
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.