Looking for a reliable white Heather for the garden? Erica x.darleyensis Ada s. Collings is unlikely to let you down.
This Heather is said to grow well in soil which is either alkaline or acidic, quite unusual for Erica’s as most of them only thrive in soil which is acidic.
The large white flowers are produced in late Winter and are long lasting, often still looking good at the end April.
This white form is much loved by our youngest daughter who is a jewellery maker. She has a fine technique of embedding the white Heather into crystal clear resin making the Heather last forever.
Erica blooms in Winter/Spring, Calluna growing in the mountains of Scotland is the late Summer bloomer.
I used to make the mistake of pruning back the late Summer Callunas after the blooms were spent. Not such a good idea in Aberdeen as flowering with some of them continued well into October. Pruning at a time when Winter was approaching meant the plants often got severely damaged.
Regarding pruning,This is how I managed to get the best out of Heathers.
The Spring flowering Ericas I cut back after the flowers went over, many of them in early April, this is also a good time to prune back the Calluna’s which bloomed in Summer/Autumn. You may find that some of the Ericas are still in bloom, its fine to leave them flowering before cutting back.
To maintain healthy plants its essential to start the pruning process in the first year after planting, otherwise they will become woody.
Cut back your Heathers quite hard making sure you do not go below the point where there is no green shoots.
Also useful to know that when you plant Heather dig them in a little deeper than you would normally do with the likes of perennials.
If after a few years you find some of the plants getting that splayed out appearance, dig them up and replant them a bit deeper, often works a treat.
Being generally acid loving, its worthwhile giving your Heather bed a mulch with ericaceous compost every second year in Spring.
Heather bed beside our round garden as it was, planted three years ago
When we moved into this house in Aberdeen in the mid eighties Heather beds had become all the rage. It wasn’t until 2010 that we decided to give them a try.
See how they filled in, two years after planting
Nearing the end of last Summer we had become very pleased with this Heather bed beside the round garden, very soon we would be saying goodbye.
Looks like we had become so obsessed with Heathers as we planted up the border in front of the kitchen window in a similar manner. This time they were partnered with Box Pyramids and dwarf Azaleas.
If you happen to leave a comment I will be sure to visit your site and do the same