Photo Credit: Barn & Blossoms: May 2006 by Andy McFarlane
The Leelanau Enterprise (and our own crack team of cherry blossom forecasters) report that we’ll be seeing the first sweet cherry blossoms any minute now. This weekend should be nice and (barring unpleasant weather) next week and weekend too! This Enterprise article gives you a nice look back at the history of blossom time in Leelanau:
While still revered by visitors, residents and especially cherry farmers, there was a time when Leelanau rolled out the red carpet as its cherry trees were turning white. The Leelanau County Blossom Tour was begun in 1948 by members of the Leelanau Horticultural Society. The tour was still growing in popularity when an announcement was published in the May 1, 1952 Leelanau Enterprise.
“Preliminary plans for this year’s tour include the posting of route markers to guide out-of-county visitors, a conducted tour of orchards for local growers, a basket picnic and brief program in one of the county parks,” the announcement read.
They note the May 18th date of the tour, a fair bit later than the present day.
“Peak blossom has moved forward about 7-8 days” when compared to 30 years ago, confirms former Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center director Jim Nugent. While reluctant to connect the bloom date change to the general category of “global warming,” Nugent is certain that cherry trees are blooming earlier than in the 1970s.
“That doesn’t prove global warming,” said Nugent. “But there has been a warming of our region during that period.”