Welcome to Sixteen Sprigs
A lot of folks over the years have asked me “Why Lavender?” As part of my career, I had the good fortune to spend a great deal of time in France, interviewing farm women. One day I met Hélenè Lafon a woman who produces lavender and sheep with her husband, Xavier on their farm in the Quercy, France. We hit it off and I fell in love with her farm operation and life. She invited me to ‘intern’ on their farm and I spent the most glorious two weeks of my life weeding, pruning and distilling lavender on hot July days. We would beat the heat by breaking for lunch in the farm shop, and in late afternoon her 16 year old daughter, Nina, taught me the old art of wand making under the ancient shade trees. I returned home to put my first 180 plants in the ground immediately.
My first plantings were more garden than ‘farm’. I call it the demonstration garden in downtown Lansing. In 2019 I was finally able to purchase land near Alma to establish a more sizeable operation and it officially opened in 2023. Growing lavender in the heart of downtown Lansing and in the rural countryside of Alma is quite the distinctive experience. The weather differs as does the soil. I grow several Angustifolia or ‘English” lavender varieties including Folgate, Hidcote, Provence, Royal Velvet, Super and Melissa. We also produce Lavandin (aka, lavendula x intermedia or ‘French’ lavender) cultivar Grosso. You’ll find many bloom at different times of the summer which produces a steady array of colors and scents for the senses.
Farming lavender in Michigan is not for the faint-hearted. It isn’t a fan of our cold winters which means it takes a spirit of adventure and fortitude to stick with it. I hope that you can visit one of our farms this summer and take part on some of our fun and educational events (see “Experiences”) that are offered seasonally. See you soon.