<-------- Title of Page

(o) in front of Page Name or Index Page No in this Main Menu Table indicates that all pages linked to from that cell have content.

SPRING FOLIAGE COLOUR
with Foliage Stalk and Form

Index Page No.

AUTUMN FOLIAGE COLOUR
with Foliage Stalk and Form

Index Page No.

CULTIVAR GROUP with Flowers
Erica Hardy Heaths:-

Index Page No.

CULTIVAR GROUP with Flowers
Erica Hardy Heaths:-

Index Page No.

HEATHER EVERGREEN SHRUB
INDEX GALLERY PAGES

Index Page No.


Site Map

Introduction

Index Page No.

Click on Colour below to change to its Heather Flower Colour Page with Flower and Flower Stalk

Spr-Bronze

1

(o) Aut-Bronze

(o) 1

Erica garforthensis

(o) 1

Erica tetralix

1

CULTIVAR GROUP with Flowers

 

FLOWERING SEASON
with Flower and Flower Stalk

 

(o) H0
White
item2e1a1i1a1a1a1e1a1b

Index Page No.

(o) H1 Amethyst
item2e1a1i1a1a1a1q1a1

Index Page No.

H2
Mauve
item2e1a1i1a1a1a1a1a1a

Index Page No.

(o) Spr-Green

(o) 1

(o) Aut-Green

(o)
1 2

Erica gaudificans

(o) 1

Erica umbellata

1

Andromeda

(o) 1

(o) January
Winter

(o)
1 2

(o) 1

(o) 1

1

Spr-Grey

1

(o) Aut-Grey

(o) 1

(o) Erica x griffithsii

(o) 1

Erica vagans

1

Bruckenthalia spiculifolia changed to
Erica spiculifolia

1

(o)February
Winter

(o)
1 2

(o) H3
Lavender
item2e1a1i1a1a1a1c1a1a

(o) 1

H4
Lilac
item2e1a1i1a1a1a1d1a1a

1

H5
Ruby
item2e1a1i1a1a1a1f1a1a

1

(o) Spr-Orange

(o) 1

Aut-Orange

1

Erica krameri

(o) 1

Erica veitchii

1

(o) Calluna

(o) 1

(o) March
Spring

(o)
1 2

Spr-Red

1

Aut-Red

1

(o) Erica lusitanica

(o) 1

Erica watsonii

1

(o) Daboecia

(o) 1

(o) April
Spring

(o)
1 2

H6
Cerise
item2e1a1i1a1a1a1g1a1a

1

(o) H7
Rose Pink
item2e1a1i1a1a1a1h1a1a

(o) 1

(o) H8
Pink
item2e1a1i1a1a1a1i1a1a

(o) 1

(o) Spr-Yellow

(o) 1

(o) Aut-Yellow

(o) 1

(o) Erica mackayana

(o) 1

Erica williamsii

1

Erica Hardy Heaths:-

 

(o) May
Spring

(o) 1

(o) Spr-Other Colour

(o) 1

Aut-Other Colour

1

Erica maderensis

(o) 1

 

 

Erica x afroeuropea

(o) 1

(o) June
Summer

(o) 1

(o) H9
Beetroot
item2e1a1i1a1a1a1j1a1a

(o) 1

(o) H10
Purple
item2e1a1i1a1a1a1k1a1a

(o) 1

(o) H11
Lilac Pink
item2e1a1i1a1a1a1l1a1a

(o) 1

 

 

 

 

(o) Erica manipuliflora

(o) 1

 

 

Erica andevalensis now treated as Erica mackayana ssp andevalensis

1

(o) July
Summer

(o) 1

SUMMER FOLIAGE COLOUR
with Foliage Stalk and Form

 

WINTER FOLIAGE COLOUR
with Foliage Stalk and Form

 

Erica multiflora

1

SEED COLOUR

 

(o) Erica arborea

(o) 1

(o) August
Summer

(o) 1

(o) H12 Heliotrope
item2e1a1i1a1a1a1m1a1a

(o) 1

H13 Crimson
item2e1a1i1a1a1a1n1a1a

1

(o) H14 Magenta
item2e1a1i1a1a1a1o1a1a

(o) 1

(o) Sum-Bronze

(o) 1

(o) Win-Bronze

(o) 1

(o) Erica
oldenburgensis

(o) 1

Seed

1

(o) Erica x arendsiana

(o) 1

(o) September
Autumn

(o) 1

(o) Sum-Green

(o)
1 2

(o) Win-Green

(o)
1 2

Erica platycodon

1

 

 

(o) Erica australis

(o) 1

(o) October
Autumn

(o) 1

H15 Salmon

item2e1a1i1a1a1a1p1a1a

1

(o) H16
Shell Pink

item2e1a1i1a1a1a1b1a1a

(o) 1

(o) H17 Multi-Coloured
item2e1a1i1a1a1a1e1a1a1

(o) 1

Sum-Grey

1

Win-Grey

1

Erica scoparia

1

BED PICTURES

 

(o) Erica azorica
(Syn.
Erica scoparia subsp. azorica)

(o) 1

(o) November
Autumn

(o) 1

Sum-Orange

1

(o) Win-Orange

(o) 1

Erica sicula

1

Garden

1

(o) Erica carnea

(o)
1 2

(o) December
Winter

(o) 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sum-Red

1

(o) Win-Red

(o) 1

(o) Erica spiculifolia

(o) 1

 

 

(o) Erica ciliaris

(o) 1

 

 

 

 

Website Structure Explanation and
User Guidelines

 

 

 

(o) Sum-Yellow

(o) 1

(o) Win-Yellow

(o) 1

(o) Erica stuartii

(o) 1


(o) COMMENTS

(o) Erica cinerea

(o) 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sum-Other Colour

1

(o) Win-Other Colour

(o) 1

Erica terminalis

1

(o) Erica x darleyensis

(o) 1

The 2 rows of "Height x Spread in inches (cms) (1 inch = 2.5 cms, 12" = 1 foot = 30 cms) and Comment" state the Heather Description from 'Handy Guide to Heathers Descriptions & Suppliers of over 1000 varieties" by David & Anne Small, published in 1992 by Denbeigh Heather Nurseries (ISBN 0-9519160-0-9). This gives the official Heather Society flower colour(s) and foliage colour(s).
Photos from Chris Garnons-Williams are added to that respective flower colour or foliage colour page in the Shrub Heather Gallery and the relevant index page in this gallery IRRESPECTIVE OF THE ACTUAL FLOWER COLOUR OR FOLIAGE COLOUR (stated in the Handy Guide) IN THE IMAGE THAT WAS TAKEN BY CHRIS GARNONS-WILLIAMS.

(o) Erica erigena

(o) 1

End of Main Menu - See Sub-Menu and Data below:-

Ivydene Gardens Heather Evergreen Shrub Index
Gallery:
Erica griffithsii Cultivars Index

Topic
Case Studies
Companion Planting
Garden Construction
Garden Design
Garden Maintenance
Glossary
Home
Library
Offbeat Glossary
Plants
Soil
Tool Shed
Useful Data

Topic - Plant Photo Galleries
Aquatic
Bamboo
Bedding
Bulb
Climber
Colour Wheel
Conifer
Deciduous Shrub
Deciduous Tree
Evergreen Perennial
Evergreen Shrub
...Shrubs - Evergreen

 

...Heather Shrub
...Heather Index *
......Andromeda
......
Bruckenthalia
......Calluna
......Daboecia
......Erica: Carnea
......Erica: Cinerea
......Erica: Others


Evergreen Tree
Fern
Grass
Hedging
Herbaceous Perennial
Herb
Odds and Sods

Rhododendron
Rose
Soft Fruit
Top Fruit
Vegetable

Wild Flower

Topic - Wildlife on Plant Photo Gallery
Butterfly

 

 

Species: Erica x griffithsii:-

 

Since these heathers in this species are lime-tolerant, then I suggest that you "Prep the soil. Heaths and heathers are acid lovers, preferring a soil pH of 4.5-5.5. Although some heaths are more tolerant of alkaline soil, particularly Irish heath (Erica erigena), most types will struggle. Work in damp peat moss or other acidic soil amendments, particularly if your soil is pH neutral (6.5-7.5). Till or loosen the soil and dig holes twice as wide as each plant's root ball to encourage roots to spread.
Provide drainage. Without good drainage, these plants just won't grow. For clay soil (which provides neither the right pH nor proper drainage), build a raised bed with equal parts topsoil, sand, and composted bark or peat moss, which will create acidic soil that properly drains. For boggy soil (which may be the right pH but too wet), make a modest
berm." from Better Homes and Gardens in America.

 

"Erica x griffithsii : Griffiths's heath
Shrub to 0.5m tall; shoots erect or spreading; leaves in whorls of 4, to 8mm long; 1–4 flowers in axillary umbels on short leafy shoots, scented; calyx 4-lobed, variously coloured green or pink; corolla pink, campanulate, to 3mm long; stamens 8, erect, fully emerged; anthers without spurs.
Blooms in late summer and autumn.
A hybrid between Erica manipuliflora (whorled heath) and Erica vagans (Cornish heath) which occurred by chance in Britain in the mid-twentieth century. The clones are lime-tolerant, hardy (suitable for zone 6), and have the vigour of whorled heath and the compactness and early flowering of Cornish heath. Named after Professor John Griffiths, the first person to create the hybrid deliberately.

• Erica x griffithsii Clones" from The Heather Society, who use the following in their descriptions - "Flower colours are indicated using the colours given in The Heather Society’s colour chart, with a code of the colour; thus, H9 is the code for the colour called beetroot. Flowering periods are indicated by Roman numerals from I to XII (each equivalent to a month); thus, for example, IX-XII means September to December (in northern hemisphere)."

 

 

"Erica x griffithsii are hybrids that tend to have the vigor of Erica manipuliflora and the compactness and early flowering of Erica vagans.  They seem to be able to grow well even in alkaline soil.  A few in this group used to be in the Erica manipuliflora group but have since been found to be hybrids.  So, if you used to know them as Erica manipuliflora, that is the reason for the change.
Hardy to at least Zone 6 (-10 degrees) and warmer. " from Heaths and Heathers.

 

Heather Evergreen Shrub Cultivar or Hybrid Name
with link to its Description Page

Erica x griffithsii
'Ashlea Gold'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flower Bud

ericaxgriffithsiiashleagoldIMG1186

Photo from
 

item2g1a41

item2g1a40

item2g1a39

item2g1a38

item2g1a37

item2g1a36

 

Flower Bud Stalk

Ericagriffithsiiasleagoldflobudstalkkavanagh

Photo from
August 2013

item2g1a30

item2g1a31

item2g1a32

item2g1a33

item2g1a34

item2g1a35

 

Flower and Flower Colour
with link to its
Flower Colour Page

Ericagriffithsiiashleagoldflokavanagh

Pale Pink - H8

Photo from
August 2013

item2g1a27

item2g1a26

item2g1a25

item2g1a24

item2g1a23

item2g1a22

 

Flower Stalk

Ericagriffithsiiashleagoldflostalkkavanagh

Photo of flower stalk from
August 2013

item2g1a16

item2g1a17

item2g1a18

item2g1a19

item2g1a20

item2g1a21

 

Flowers

Ericagriffithsiiashleagoldfloskavanagh

Photo of flowers from
August 2013

item2g1a13

item2g1a12

item2g1a11

item2g1a10

item2g1a9

item2g1a8

 

Seed

ericaxgriffithsiiashleagoldIMG1188a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seedhead

Ericagriffithsiiashleagoldseedgarnonswilliams

Photo from
October 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flowering Months with link to its Flowering Month Page

July,
August,
September,
October

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Height x Spread in inches (cms) (1 inch = 2.5 cms, 12" = 1 foot = 30 cms)
and Comment

18 x 24 (31-45 x 46-60)

Pale pink flowers, VII-X; deep gold foliage throughout the year; compact; height 31-45cm; spread 46-60cm. Less floriferous than ‘Valerie Griffiths’ but has a much stronger foliage colour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fol-iage Stalk Col-our

Spring
with link to its
Spring Foliage Colour Page

item2g1a1

Deep Gold

Photo from
 

item2g1a3

item2g1a2

item2g1a4

item2g1a5

item2g1a6

item2g1a7

Summer with link to its
Summer Foliage Colour Page

Ericagriffithsiiashleagoldfolsumkavanagh

Deep Gold

Photo from

August 2013
 

item2g1a44

item2g1a45

item2g1a46

item2g1a47

item2g1a48

item2g1a49

Autumn with link to its
Autumn Foliage Colour Page

Ericagriffithsiiashleagoldfolautgarnonswilliams

Deep Gold

Photo from
October 2014

item2g1a51

item2g1a52

item2g1a53

item2g1a54

item2g1a55

item2g1a56

Winter
with link to its
Winter Foliage Colour Page

item2g1a59

Deep Gold

Photo from
 

item2g1a58

item2g1a57

item2g1a60

item2g1a61

item2g1a62

item2g1a63

Form dis-plays Over-all Fol-iage Col-our

Spring form
with link to supplier in the UK

item2g1a64

 

Photo of form from
 

item2g1a65

item2g1a66

item2g1a67

item2g1a68

item2g1a69

item2g1a70

Summer form with link to supplier in Europe

Heather's Heide online shop from Holland is closed on Sunday

Ericagriffithsiiashleagoldforsumkavanagh

Heather's Heide

Photo of form from
August 2013

item2g1a73

item2g1a72

item2g1a74

item2g1a75

item2g1a76

item2g1a77

Autumn form with link to supplier in USA

Ericagriffithsiiashleagoldforautgarnonswilliams

Heaths and Heathers

Photo of form from
October 2014

item2g1a79

item2g1a80

item2g1a81

item2g1a82

item2g1a83

item2g1a84

Winter form
with link to supplier in Canada

item2g1a85

 

Photo of form from
 

item2g1a87

item2g1a86

item2g1a88

item2g1a89

item2g1a90

item2g1a91

"Anyone during the summer months, who has walked over the moor lands throughout the British Isles will appreciate the magnificent mass of colour provided by Heathers. Heathers are native to not only the British Isles, but also much of mainland Europe to northern Italy and as far north as Iceland. Due to seed of our native Calluna vulgaris (Scotch Heather) being accidentally introduced on packaging materials, it has also become naturalised in parts of Nova Scotia and Eastern Canada.

We had better point out that there are more heather species (Erica) in South Africa than anywhere else in the world. Many of these have been introduced and sold as pot grown house plants, which if after flowering they are planted out in the garden, then they will die during the winter months. So do make sure the heather you are purchasing is hardy enough to be grown outdoors in the garden.

Most of the heathers require a fertile, moist, but not waterlogged, acid soil. By incorporating plenty of composted bark, or peat, we grow them quite successfully in a sandy loam of Ph6.5, which is almost neutral. If you garden on soils with a high lime content, it is better to create beds raised 15/20cm above your normal soil level and infill this with half and half John Innes No. 3 compost and composted bark, or peat. Heathers can also be grown in tubs, or troughs, but Calluna’s and Erica cinerea hate hot feet, but both species like an open sunny site and will not produce so many flowers if grown in dense shade. The winter flowering heather, Erica carnea, is a mountain plant consequently it will tolerate drier soils and warmer sites and will grow in fertile soils of PH7 with less bark, or peat being used.

FLOWERING TIMES
Erica carnea is a superb winter flowering, dwarf evergreen shrub. Over 130 named forms have been introduced varying in size, foliage and flower colour. Flowering time is usually from December to March when there is little else in flower.

Erica erigena is a strong growing shrub, which will attain between 75 cm and 2 metres and flowers during April and May. It has sported a number of foliage and flower cultivars, but they will not tolerate wet feet and exposed sites, but the hybrids between this species and Erica carnea are named Erica x darleyensis and these - although almost as tough as Erica carnea - are much stronger growers growing between 45 and 70cms in height. The x darleyensis cultivars produce flowers from white through to dark amethyst - all flower from December to May.

The tree heather, Erica arborea forms a small tree in Southern Europe where its roots are used to make briar pipes, but it is very tender. However, the variety alpina has been growing in our nursery showground for many years where - if left to its own devices - would attain 2-3 metres in height. It is massed with honey scented white flowers in April-May.

Erica cinerea is a superb low growing shrub which, according to cultivar, is massed with flowers of varying colours from June to September. Daboecia cantabrica also flowers at this time with attractive urn shaped flowers. The sub species scotica is lower growing and freer flowering.

Although there is only one species in Calluna vulgaris; over 600 named cultivars have been introduced, varying from dwarfs of 7cms to those which attain 60cms and with foliage of green, silver, or yellow. The flowers also vary from white to beetroot-red and appear from late June to September. Erica vagans, the Cornish Heath brings the season to a close; its stiff, upright branches produce masses of white, lavender, or pink flowers in September-October.

PRUNING
All of the summer flowering heathers can be pruned after flowering, or the brown seed heads left on until April. Erica arborea alpina and the x darleyensis hybrids can if room allows, be left to their own devices. If room is restricted they can be pruned over as soon as their flowers have faded.

" from Goscote Nurseries.

 

Heather Evergreen Shrub Cultivar or Hybrid Name
with link to its Description Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flower Bud

item2g1a42b

Photo from
 

item2g1a41a

item2g1a40a

item2g1a39a

item2g1a38a

item2g1a37a

item2g1a36a

 

Flower Bud Stalk

item2g1a29b

Photo from
 

item2g1a30a

item2g1a31a

item2g1a32a

item2g1a33a

item2g1a34a

item2g1a35a

 

Flower and Flower Colour
with link to its
Flower Colour Page

item2g1a28b

White - H0

Photo from
 

item2g1a27a

item2g1a26a

item2g1a25a

item2g1a24a

item2g1a23a

item2g1a22a

 

Flower Stalk

item2g1a15b

Photo of flower stalk from
 

item2g1a16a

item2g1a17a

item2g1a18a

item2g1a19a

item2g1a20a

item2g1a21a

 

Flowers

item2g1a14b

Photo of flowers from
 

item2g1a13a

item2g1a12a

item2g1a11a

item2g1a10a

item2g1a9a

item2g1a8a

 

Seed

item2g1a11b1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seedhead

item2g1a11c1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flowering Months

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Height x Spread in inches (cms) (1 inch = 2.5 cms, 12" = 1 foot = 30 cms)
and Comment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fol-iage Stalk Col-our

Spring
with link to its
Spring Foliage Colour Page

item2g1a1c

Dark Green

Photo from
 

item2g1a3a

item2g1a2a

item2g1a4a

item2g1a5a

item2g1a6a

item2g1a7a

Summer with link to its
Summer Foliage Colour Page

item2g1a1b1

Dark Green

Photo from
 

item2g1a44a

item2g1a45a

item2g1a46a

item2g1a47a

item2g1a48a

item2g1a49a

Autumn with link to its
Autumn Foliage Colour Page

item2g1a50b

Dark Green

Photo from
 

item2g1a51a

item2g1a52a

item2g1a53a

item2g1a54a

item2g1a55a

item2g1a56a

Winter
with link to its
Winter Foliage Colour Page

item2g1a59b

Dark Green

Photo from
 

item2g1a58a

item2g1a57a

item2g1a60a

item2g1a60b

item2g1a61b

item2g1a62b

Form dis-plays Over-all Fol-iage Col-our

Spring form
with link to supplier in the UK

item2g1a64b

Spring Park Nursery

Photo of form from
 

item2g1a65a

item2g1a66a

item2g1a67a

item2g1a68a

item2g1a69a

item2g1a70a

Summer form with link to supplier in Europe

Heather's Heide online shop from Holland is closed on Sunday

item2g1a71b

Heather's Heide

Photo of form from
 

item2g1a73a

item2g1a72a

item2g1a74a

item2g1a75a

item2g1a76a

item2g1a77a

Autumn form with link to supplier in USA

item2g1a78b

Heaths and Heathers

Photo of form from
 

item2g1a79a

item2g1a80a

item2g1a81a

item2g1a82a

item2g1a83a

item2g1a84a

Winter form
with link to supplier in Canada

item2g1a85b

Bunchberry Nurseries

Photo of form from
 

item2g1a87a

item2g1a86a

item2g1a88a

item2g1a89a

item2g1a90a

item2g1a91a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Depending on which heather species you choose with their 1 from the official 18 heather colours in the top menu, you can have flowers throughout the year, which is very useful for their pollination by bees.

Click on the 1 in the Colour Wheel below to link to those thumbnails in their Comparison Gallery -
with their index of those bee-pollinated plants in addition to heathers of that flower colour in that month -
to compare their blooms:-

bloomsmonth2a1a

 

"RHS Plants for Pollinators
There are lots of ways to make your garden as perfect for pollinators as possible with the RHS
We have compiled two downloadable plant lists to help gardeners identify plants that will provide nectar and pollen for bees and many other types of pollinating insects:
 

How to attract and support pollinating insects

  • Aim to have plants that are attractive to pollinating insects in flower from early spring to late autumn.
  • Grow garden plants with flowers that attract pollinating insects.
  • Avoid plants with double or multi-petalled flowers. Such flowers may lack nectar and pollen, or insects may have difficulty in gaining access.
  • Never use pesticides on plants when they are in flower.
  • Where appropriate, British wildflowers can be an attractive addition to planting schemes and may help support a wider range of pollinating insects.
  • Observe the plants in your garden. If you know of plants with blooms that regularly attract insects, let us know.
  • Encourage bees by keeping honeybees yourself or allowing a beekeeper to place hives in your garden. Nest boxes containing cardboard tubes or hollow plant stems, or holes drilled in blocks of wood will provide nest sites for some species of solitary bees. Such nests are available from garden centres or you can make your own (holes/tubes should be in a mixture of sizes with a diameter of 2 - 8mm)." from the RHS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ivydene Horticultural Services logo with I design, construct and maintain private gardens. I also advise and teach you in your own garden. 01634 389677

 

Site design and content copyright ©December 2014. Index Page for each Comparison Page of Heather Comparison Gallery created in this Gallery in December 2014. Chris Garnons-Williams.

DISCLAIMER: Links to external sites are provided as a courtesy to visitors. Ivydene Horticultural Services are not responsible for the content and/or quality of external web sites linked from this site.
It is possible that the carrier pigeon used in the original link may have died and thus that link currently may no longer be functional. 

 

Some heathers besides having flowers have foliage colours that change from 1 season to the next season in the UK -

  • Spring (March, April, May),
  • Summer (June, July, August),
  • Autumn (September, October, November) and
  • Winter (December, January, February).


The Heather Comparison Gallery provides comparison pages of the:-

  • 18 flower colours with flower and flower stalk as shown in the menu table at the top of this page,
  • 18 flower colours with flower and flower stalk in each of the months that heather flowers,
  • 7 foliage colours with foliage stalk and form per season as shown in the menu table at the top of this page, and
  • Each of the Heather Cultivar Groups with flowers

and the Index for the heathers shown in each of these Comparison Pages is in 1 or more Index Pages in the relevant Heather Evergreen Shrub Index Gallery instead of being in the same Comparison page, due to their being too many to include within the available space.
THIS COMBINATION OF FOLIAGE COLOUR CHANGE CAN BE USED IN YOUR GARDEN DESIGN TO AID DIFFERENT GROUNDCOVER FOLIAGE COLOURS IN DIFFERENT SEASONS, together with the months of flower buds before flowering and the post months of seedheads.

From Heathers: Yearbook of the Heather Society:-

"Heathers 5: 9-16 (2008). ©J. Griffiths

A heather hybridizer's Yorkshire garden

John Griffiths

9 Ashlea Close, Garforth, LEEDS, West Yorkshire LS25 1JX.

 

On occasion I have been asked about my garden and what part it has played in my heather hybridizing experiments, so I thought a short account of how the garden developed and the sorts of plants I grow might be of interest to members. Many Society members will have gardens of much greater aesthetic value than mine, so I lay no claims to anything of horticultural excellence.
The garden was developed on something of a shoestring, and no doubt my account will strike a few chords with those of you who faced similar financial restraints when establishing their first garden.

My wife, Valerie, and I acquired the garden in 1970 when we moved to Yorkshire and purchased our first (and to date only) house. This was located in a typical newish open-plan housing estate, and had an unusually large garden for the time (even more unusual by present-day standards), covering just under one third of an acre. Although this was to be our first garden, we already knew that we would be keen gardeners given the chance, and the size of the garden was certainly one of the major factors in choosing the house. My gardening inexperience meant that I had given no real thought to what sort of plants might thrive in this plot, and looking back I can see that I was very fortunate in acquiring by chance a plot with good quality, reasonably well drained soil, and with a slightly acid pH - in other words, a soil ideal for growing any species of heather. The garden had its problems, and we found that it actually occupied one of the lowest points in the area and some parts could become heavily water-logged in very wet weather. It was also something of a frost pocket, which caused me many problems with early-flowering rhododendrons and other shrubs. However, with increasing maturity of protective shrubs and favourable climate change, this problem has now largely disappeared.

When we first arrived, the garden was basically a flat, lawned area, encircled by what seemed to be endless wooden-panel fencing, with a few strategically placed ornamental trees and shrubs. Our first priorities were therefore to cover up the fencing with suitable hedging, and to create more interest in the garden, in the form of paths, flower-beds, rockeries and a pond. Though not appreciated at the time, one of the great advantages of starting a garden with a very limited budget is the forced acquisition of a wide range of skills, and as a young family with several commitments, we certainly had to watch the pennies. Compost- making and propagation marked the start of our steep learning curve. Good, solid hedging around the perimeter was achieved within five years, starting with a modest number of laurels and Leyland cypresses (X Cupressocyparis leylandii) stock-plants and propagating these from cuttings. After 30 years, both types of hedging are still intact and doing their job. Despite its bad press, I have found "Leylandii" to make an excellent hedge if looked after properly, that is, cut well back once a year. I will admit that for the first ten years growth will be prodigious and cutting twice a year might be needed, but eventually its growing energy will be dispersed through so many growing tips that only a few inches will be put on each season, and clipping once a year is plenty and will keep it looking neat and tidy for a full twelve months, unlike other less vigorous hedging plants such as privet. Once established, the hedging helped a lot with frost problems, and also provided a useful wind break in what was quite a windy area.

Because of pressures of work, the prime object was to develop a garden with all-year-round interest and colour, requiring the minimum of time and effort to keep in good order. How fortunate we were, that in the 1970s heathers and dwarf conifers were still popular, and our thinking was soon directed towards these for our foundation planting. Sad to think that had more recent gardening fashions predominated then, we might now be looking forlornly at a flooded "Mediterranean" garden, or a weed-infested prairie planting, complete with decaying decking and peeling blue-painted fencing. Modern, fashion-driven gardening hype has a lot to answer for!

In those first few years, progress was relatively slow due to lack of time, but gradually more beds were dug and planted up. The pond provided useful soil for the rockeries, and the rock pond-edging and waterfall construction was tackled by using concrete moulded into natural rock formations and textures. This technique took a little perfecting, but the result was well worth the effort, and 25 years on, all the structures are still intact and look as though they have been in place for ever. In the case of the rockeries, I was able to find a recently worked-out quarry and after some phone calls; I was given permission to take away what rocks I could find, provided I tipped the gatekeeper adequately. For the price of a fiver and a hired van I was able to select all the rocks I needed and collect them in three or four trips. Although the pond did provide some soil for the rockeries, this was not enough for our needs and we had to look elsewhere. The answer to our prayers seemed to come in the form of an advertisement in our local press, offering free top-soil from a sugar-beet processing plant. I immediately ordered 10 tons of this, which soon arrived by lorry and I watched it being dumped on our driveway with growing apprehension. Shifting this into the back garden was a priority, as we could hardly get into the house, let alone get the car onto the drive. However, a prodigious effort of wheelbarrowing, with the welcome assistance of willing neighbours, eventually moved it, and my muscles still ache to think about it. Unfortunately the soil proved to be full of lime and extremely alkaline, and where it was to be used for heathers I had to resort to liberal application of strong sulphuric acid to bring the pH down. Using nothing more than a plastic watering can, this proved quite an experience, and with all the fizzing, bubbling and splashing, this was not a job for the faint-hearted. However, I eventually reached an acceptable pH without personal injury, and the rockeries were finally completed by about 1978 and were planted up on the various levels with alpines and winter-flowering heathers. The latter were given greatest prominence, covering about five square metres on the lowest level, directly facing the house. The chosen cultivars were Erica carnea 'King George', 'Springwood White', 'December Red', 'Vivellii' and 'Myretoun Ruby', and with the exception of 'Vivellii' which seemed not too fond of our Yorkshire weather, these proved to be an ideal choice, and have given us welcome colour unfailingly every winter for 30 years, with no more attention than a good clipping every May. Most of the original plants still survive, and despite 30 years of continuous growth, none have strayed outside their allotted space. These early successes with Erica carnea made me realise the potential of heathers and I soon became hooked. Over the next five years I sourced numerous hardy species and hybrids, and planted these in various locations.

Strangely, Calluna vulgaris has been the least successful with me, and although the plants establish and grow well, they have generally required the most frequent replacement (every four or five years). Even with severe pruning, the flower spikes seemed to diminish in length every year as the plants themselves became larger and leggier. Nevertheless, Calluna cultivars will always earn their keep, thanks to their wonderful range of colours and flower forms, and their amenability to propagation.

Erica vagans cultivars have proved much more permanent, and have kept up their flowering performance with increasing age almost as well as the Erica carnea clones. However, they are somewhat harder to keep in check, and do eventually outgrow their allocated areas. I have even had to replace plants of the slow-growing Erica vagans 'Valerie Proudley' after about 20 years because of excessive size.

Other heathers which have retained their floriferousness and reasonably restricted size (with annual pruning) for 20 years or more are various Erica x darleyensis cultivars, Erica terminalis 'Thelma Woolner', Erica lusitanica (the species), Erica x veitchii 'Exeter' and 'Gold Tips', Erica x williamsii and Daboecia x scotica 'William Buchanan'.

Plants which I would never be without, but which do require replacing every five years or so are various cultivars of Erica tetralix, Erica cinerea, Erica ciliaris, Erica x watsonii, Erica x stuartii and Erica erigena. For me, the most frustrating species to keep satisfactorily for more than three or four years has proved to be Erica umbellata, and I must confess that I do not know the answer to this.

After my seemingly immortal Erica cornea plants, the tree heaths Erica x veitchii and Erica lusitanica are my favourites, as they have provided invaluable, tidy backdrops at key points in the garden, helping to divide the garden up, and at the same time providing beautiful, massed flower-cover in spring. They also have the bonus of delightful fragrance. The Erica x veitchii hybrids proved perfectly hardy from the word go, but the harsh winters of the '70s always proved too much for Erica lusitanica and I was unable to establish plants until David McClintock kindly provided me with cutting material from plants that had naturalised themselves in the south of England. These were propagated, and have since proved perfectly hardy with me, still flowering vigorously every spring with never any signs of frost damage to the leaves or stems.

My interest in heathers expanded into acid-loving plants in general, and the family Ericaceae in particular. For the garden-lover, plantsman and botanist alike, the Ericaceae have an incredible amount to offer, and it would be a formidable challenge for anyone to collect just one example of each genus (currently standing at 124 genera, I believe). These 124 genera truly range from A to Z (from Andromeda to Zenobia), encompassing almost any shape and size of plant one could wish for. For example, at one extreme there is the tiny, Arctic moss heather Harrimanella hypnoides (formerly Cassiope) which I managed to keep outside for a few years, and at the other extreme there are large trees, such as Oxydendron arboreum which can reach 50ft in height (my own, grown from seed, stands at 10ft after 15 years).

For a few years I set about collecting as many examples of the Ericaceae as I could, already having, of course, Calluna, Erica, Daboecia and Rhododendron to start my collection. The first obvious additions were the other heath-type genera Andromeda, Cassiope, Pltyllodoce and Bruckenthalia (now Erica), and these were followed quickly by such familiar and readily available shrubs as Pieris, Enkianthus, Gaultheria and Vaccinium, and the strawberry tree, Arbutus unedo. However, thereafter other genera became increasingly difficult to find, and proved very challenging, but at one stage I did manage to put together a collection of 43 genera. Alas, not all proved to be as undemanding as the heathers, and today only a small percentage of these remain. For those blessed with acid soil, I can recommend trying various species of Enkianthus (flowers and autumn colour), Kalmia (unusually attractive flowers), Lyonia (flowers and autumn colour), Vaccinium and Gaultheria (foliage and berries) and Zenobia pulverulenta (for its unusual silvery-green foliage and scented, pure white flowers). My all-time favourites are the blueberries (Vaccinium), which provide everything one could want in a shrub: neatness with minimal pruning, abundant flowers, intense autumn colour, and of course attractive, edible berries, which are both extremely good for you and delicious.

Having soon become a member of The Heather Society in those early days, I was intrigued to read the article written by veteran member Anne Parris in the 1976 Yearbook - Preliminary note on a cross between Erica erigena and Erica cornea - and her follow-up article in 1977. Her comments inspired me to carry out my own hybridization experiments, and I wrote to (then) Vice- President David McClintock for advice. His response was extremely encouraging, and it was largely due to him that in the next few years I persevered with my experiments and did not give up after the first few setbacks. My first attempts used pot plants in a cold greenhouse, but results were disappointing, so I then used more mature plants in the garden. The greatest difficulty was not the pollination stage but keeping bees away from the pollinated flowers so that the results were not compromised. I hit on the idea of using small muslin "tents" which could be placed over the whole plant and staked to the soil, and for a while the heather beds looked most peculiar with these dotted about the place. However it was impossible to plug all the gaps, and bees are perhaps the most persistent of all insects, so more often than not I would find bees trapped inside the tents, having had exclusive access to all my carefully pollinated flowers. The eventual solution was to use small mesh bags that fitted over each flower stem, and to seal these tightly to the stem with a wire tie. Although less obtrusive than the tents, some plants could have as many as ten of these bags on them at any one time.

After a few years I was getting enough successes with my crosses to cause problems accommodating and growing on the numerous resultant seedlings. It generally took two to three years to be able to assess the hybrid character and garden value of a plant. As a result I decided to build a 1x4 metre cold frame out of breeze-blocks, so that the more important seedlings could be lined out and grown under exposed conditions, with some protection from wind and frost. The frame covers were only used in extremely cold weather. Hybrids produced successfully at this time included Erica x griffithsii 'Valerie Griffiths' (named after my wife) and 'Ashlea Gold' (named after our road), Erica x williamsii 'Gold Button', Erica x garforthensis 'Craig' (my first grandson), and Erica x watsonii 'Claire Elise' (my daughter). Interestingly, 'Valerie Griffiths' does not provide such a rich yellow colour on my soil as 'Ashlea Gold', and so I have found myself becoming increasingly more attracted to her rival in recent years.

Today the garden contains more mixed planting than it used to, and herbaceous perennials, spring- and summer-flowering bulbs, and climbers are also to be found in most beds. However, heathers, rhododendrons, conifers and small shrubs still dominate the scene. Some of these have outgrown their space and usefulness, and are gradually being replaced. The pond with its synthetic rockwork has stood the test of time and looks very natural, and as the ravages of herons have at last been eliminated (thanks to plastic netting), the fish population is burgeoning and will soon need thinning out. The seedling frame has gone, and the netted heather plants are now rarely seen, but the real lasting memories of my hybridization experiments are the plants themselves, examples of which are dotted about the garden as pleasant reminders of the trials, tribulations, and (very occasionally) successes of the amateur hybridizer."

item2e1a1i1a1a1a1e1a1b item2e1a1i1a1a1a1q1a1 item2e1a1i1a1a1a1a1a1a item2e1a1i1a1a1a1c1a1a item2e1a1i1a1a1a1d1a1a item2e1a1i1a1a1a1f1a1a item2e1a1i1a1a1a1g1a1a item2e1a1i1a1a1a1h1a1a item2e1a1i1a1a1a1i1a1a item2e1a1i1a1a1a1j1a1a item2e1a1i1a1a1a1k1a1a item2e1a1i1a1a1a1l1a1a item2e1a1i1a1a1a1m1a1a item2e1a1i1a1a1a1n1a1a item2e1a1i1a1a1a1o1a1a item2e1a1i1a1a1a1p1a1a item2e1a1i1a1a1a1b1a1a item2e1a1i1a1a1a1e1a1a1 item32b1a item29b1a item27b1a item25b1a item23b1a item22b1a item21b1a item51a1b1a item43a1b1a item39a1b1a item14a1b1a item12a1b1a item11a1b1a item9a1b1a item7a1b1a item3a1b1a item2a1b1a item32b1a item29b1a item27b1a item25b1a item23b1a item22b1a item21b1a item51a1b1a item43a1b1a item39a1b1a item14a1b1a item12a1b1a item11a1b1a item9a1b1a item7a1b1a item3a1b1a item2a1b1a