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Any classic or experimental design ideas?

Posted by cranebill 6 (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 29, 04 at 11:56

What design possibilities have you been exploring in your use of heaths and heathers? Someone on another forum mentioned getting hooked on heaths and heathers after seeing the photo in the White Flower Farm catalog. I suspect that many of us are trying to emulate that spectacular kind of effect in our own heath and heather gardens (whether we're partial to the vibrantly colored varieties or the subtler ones). But there are probably other ways in which these plants can be used to good effect.

How have you achieved the classic, flowing field of color effect (ala White Flower Farm)? On how large or small a scale? Which varieties work well together? Have you used other plants in your heath and heather beds? Dwarf conifers are often recommended for contrast in form and color. Which ones are effective? What others might be worth trying? What about perennials (or even annuals)? Which ones work well?

What about heaths and heathers in containers? What special cultivation considerations are important? Which heaths and heathers combine well with each other or with other plants in containers?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions. They will be helpful in putting together a design section for the forthcoming FAQ.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Any classic or experimental design ideas?

I'm going for the 'classic' look. Heather-only bed, probably about 100 sq ft.

Thinking about your question... for experimental ideas, it occurs to me that a bold individual with a lot of space could probably create a very cool knot garden with heathers (although it's not going to be me anytime soon!!)

RE: Any classic or experimental design ideas?

I was thinking I would like to do a foundation planting with a great variety of heaths and heathers-does any one recommend any great tall ones?

RE: Any classic or experimental design ideas?

In one area of my garden, I have about 100 square feet of Calluna bounded by ornamental grassesDeschampsia c. 'Schottland' and Calamagrostis x a. 'Karl Foerster on one side and cultivars of Miscanthus on the other. The former group with the Calluna is stunning. Many grasses look good with Calluna, especially the lower-growers (3' or less), like Molinia caerula (all cultivars), any Deschampsia, Briza, even Pennisetum. Dwarf forms of Cotoneaster and low-growing Junipers work well, too. Flowering plants and their foliage, detract obscure the beauty of heaths and heathers, in my opinion.

RE: Any classic or experimental design ideas?

I had an area of weathered, cracked granite bedrock (known as "ledge" in this part of New England) sticking out of one side of my vegetable garden, which was terraced down a hill. I added soil on top filling in hollows and added a few additional rocks to help hold soil near hollows in the sides and planted the soil with heaths and heathers. The combination of the lichen-spotted gray granite with the foliage and flowers of the heaths and heathers was really eye-catching. I mulched it with granite chips that we seived out of the nearby vegetable garden as we built that. It was the part of my garden with the longest interest, and the part I most regretted leaving when we moved. (We don't have ledge or any other rocks where we are now . . . )

RE: Any classic or experimental design ideas?

I have a large 10'x40' rectangle along side my drive that has left me perplexed for some time. I hate rectangular plantings, but I haven't been able to change the shape of this bed because it is bounded by a fence and concrete.

My intention is to create the illusion of curves by swirling different varieties of heathers in a mass planting.

RE: Any classic or experimental design ideas?

This year, I decided to begin planting only flora that will live here in my acid-sand environment near Cape Cod without much help. I planted 1500 heaths & heathers; 26 different varieties; along a 3400 sf section of my property. Out of 1500, only 26 have failed, and the replacements are doing just fine. Am hoping that 2-3 years from now, there is a lovely, colorful blanket of ground cover which keeps the crabgrass & thistleweed down. The Calluna that are supposed to be blooming now (June) are, and the Erica has new growth. Once established, they should require no supplemental watering or feeding and are a breath of fresh air to this landscape designer who is sick to death of resource-sucking turf yards. Fingers crossed, folks! Here's hoping.

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