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Heather is the Garden Plant of the Month January

A winter full of colour

by The Joy of Plants • Friday January 13, 2017

January can be a quiet time in the garden, most garden plants are taking a rest before the Spring.  However, there are always exceptions and one of those is the wonderful Heather! This little beauty really comes into its own during this quiet period – its colourful small flowers can bring a riot of colour to an otherwise muted garden palette.  Flowering through the snow, they look best on those crisp mornings as you look out your windows!

Heather (Erica) is versatile and robust – it looks fabulous planted in the ground but also looks great in pots and planters.  This colourful little shrub generally reaches about 25cm in height and therefore is well suited for planting in the front of your border. The delicate, bell-shaped flowers of the heather plant come in many shades – reds, pinks, purples and whites. It can flower well into April guaranteeing you a winter full of colour!

An added bonus with this plant is that it is particularly magnetic to bees and flying insects as it provides winter nectar and is a great early pollen source for our ever diminishing bee population. Many heathers are food plants for over 30 butterfly and moth species.

Did you know?

Erica derives from the Greek word ereiko meaning to break. Medieval apothecaries thought infusions made from it could ‘break’ or dissolve gallstones.

DIY tip

Make a wire heart shape, tie sprigs and small bunches of heather onto it to accentuate the shape.   It's not only decorative, but also a subtle hint to your partner that Valentine's Day is only a  few weeks away...

 

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