Heidi’s Sneak Peak – #4 – ‘Heather’



I am so excited to tell you about this weeks’ sneak peek!  It’s a plant steeped in superstition, symbolism, and nostalgia, Calluna vulgaris.  Known more famously as Heather!  While ordering perennials for the 2013 season last summer I came across a Heather collection that is hardy Zone 3-7.  That’s hardy enough for us here in Minnesota!  We will be getting limited numbers of 4 different varieties.  Some will have golden foliage, some green and some reddish.  Flower color will vary by variety but will be in different shades of pink.  I have been interested in growing Heather for many years now but have hesitated as the varieties I usually find are listed Zone 5-8, which as you may know, just doesn’t always cut it here in our neck of the woods.  While I have been looking forward to the addition of these exciting plants to our inventory, my interest was further “peeked” at a seminar I attended at the Minnesota Green Expo last week.  Adrian Bloom of Bressingham Gardens in the UK spoke about their gardens and he brought pictures!  Their climate is milder than ours so they are able to use all those Zone 5 Heathers that I have always been so interested in.  They have used Heather often, in many of their gardens, even devoting entire beds to them.  By combining multiple varieties they create a lovely effect.  Although they are a woody plant their tiny scale-like evergreen leaves and delicate bell flowers give them a softness and habit that is truly unique. Visit our “Inspiration” Board on Pinterest to see some pictures of the Bressingham Gardens and Heidi’s Sneak Peek Board for pics of this weeks’ Sneak Peek.  While you’re doing that, I’ll be lost in the Heather, dreaming of spring!

Here’s the dirt on Heather…

Small shrub-like evergreen plants producing mounds of low-growing, spreading mats, 6-12” Tall.  These deer resistant plants produce bell flowers along the woody stems and are excellent for fresh cut bouquets and drying.    Colorful, scale-like foliage can be found in a variety of colors and will often take on a bronze or reddish hue in winter months.  Heather likes full sun but will benefit from a little protection when it’s planted in a climate with high summer temperatures. They want well drained, acidic soils that are watered regularly to avoid drought stress.