In this month’s magazine James Wickham reviews hardy heathers…
It’s time to rescue heathers from the horticultural doldrums and in particular the vast family of ericas that can fizz with flower throughout the year. Since their heyday in the 1970s and 1980s, when teamed with dwarf conifers, heathers have gone off the radar for many gardeners, but it’s time to remind ourselves of their merits and give them a chance to shine again.
How many other hardy plant families have the range and variety to offer flowers all year round, provide evergreen, often colourful foliage and create tough, weed-suppressing ground cover? Ericas are also incredibly easy to grow and while it’s true some need an acid soil, many are happy in limy conditions and are also tolerant of very exposed and coastal gardens. In short, you have the almost perfect garden plant. They are also beloved by bees who relish the nectar-rich bells, especially of those that flower in the short, chilly days of winter and early spring.
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