May 25 • 11:43 PM

Celebrate the spirit of scented herb

Lavender Fest, its creator are natural wonders

July 09, 2008
Over the years our readers have enjoyed the stories masterfully written by Iris Lee Underwood, one of the most creative individuals that I know.

An award-winning writer, poet, artist and teacher, Iris recently added 'musician' and 'farmer' to her life's resume. A visionary with a creative, empathetic spirit, at age 59 Iris con-tinues to take on new challenges every day. Whatever it is she's doing—or driven to do—she's obviously doing it right. Iris is beautiful inside and out.

Perhaps most importantly, what I've learned from Iris is that she's passionate about whatever it is she does—and she truly wants to share her gifts with the world.

Painting by Iris Lee Underwood to commemorate this year’s Lavender Festival.
She'll do just that on July 18-19 during the Fourth Annual Yule Love It Lavender Festival at her organic lavender farm in Leonard. From 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. each day, visitors can enjoy demonstrations, presentations, guest speakers, art, children's activities, sweets and savories and more. Most of all, they can enjoy lavender and all of its fragrant and healing qualities.

It is those qualities that drew Iris into her lavender farming venture. After the loss of her 25-year-old daughter Becky to a drug-related death, Iris was working in a lavender bed at her home when she felt a sudden but strong healing presence. It spoke to her. Loudly. She knew she had to pass along the healing qualities of the perennial herb.

At this year's festival, visitors will have a chance to celebrate the folklore surrounding lavender and learn about the benefits of the herb. Those who want to take some home may do so either by picking their own in Iris's fields or choosing from 15 varieties of potted lavender.

Yule Love It Lavender Farm sweets and beverages will be offered, as will savory treats provided by Pamela's Catering.

Art, body care, craft and culinary demonstrations are planned for the week-end, and a Michigan authors book sale and signing is slated as well. Iris will offer and sign her book 'Growing Lavender & Other Poems' as well.

Activities include 'Sweet Spot,' a children's garden, 'Stomp & Smell,' a nature walk for children called 'Bunnies Bugs and Badgers,' greenhouse tours, lavender massages, garden strolls, 'Granny's quilts' for snoozing and sniffing lavender in the shade, music by a harpist and violinist, art lessons in the lavender and more.

The festival will take place rain or shine, and Iris advises guests to wear their walking shoes.

Admission is $7 and includes speaker sym-posium, parking, shuttle, demonstrations, art lessons in the lavender and attractions. Seniors 65 and older are admitted for $3, master gardeners pay $5 and children 12 and under get in free. Groups of 20 or more are admitted for $5 each.

Many of you already have a feel for Iris through the stories she's written that have graced our pages over the past three years. If you haven't met Iris or read her work (she took a hiatus from writing to pur-sue the lavender venture full time), she's a truly remarkable woman who makes the planet a better place every single day. Meeting Iris, seeing her work, feeling the passion she shares and of course smelling the lavender is well worth the trip.

Yule Love It Lavender Farm is located at 960 Yule Road, north of 32 Mile Road, one mile east of Rochester Road in Addison Townshp.

For a complete festival program including the speaker schedule visit The homepage offers a $1 off admission coupon for the festival.

Sweet travels to all. Hope to see you there.

Email Catherine at

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