Sustainable gardening with heather is a plant option that many people have not thought about. Heaths and heathers are wonderfully hardy shrubby plants that bloom both throughout the summer and throughout the winter, even in snow.
I have several beautiful mounding varieties that are just coming into their bloom time now and will continue through March and even April. Then other varieties will begin their bloom, May through September. Since they are also evergreen, they look fabulous even when not in bloom.
Sustainable gardening does not mean ripping out all the shrubs and plants you currently have, but it does offer new opportunities to consider adding water-wise plant varieties you may not know about.
As you know, my goal is always maximizing the year-round beauty of an organic garden in tough climates, while reducing maintenance, with the added bonus of attracting pollinators and other beneficial insects. Heaths and heathers are so hardy, I’ve used them in my garden designs in high altitude, cold mountain gardens, in regular high-desert gardens and near the sea where the salt air can be a real challenge.
Something to think about as well when considering sustainable gardening is soil coverage for moisture retention and root systems that can capture water runoff on hillsides. Additionally, heaths and heathers are so dense that as water runoff increases in spring when snows melt, they can capture and slow that water. Since they prefer soils with good drainage, hillsides are ideal.
Once established, they are extremely drought tolerant. They look fabulous as a focal point, or mixed amongst your other perennials. I love the way they look with ornamental grasses and/or as part of a lawn replacement.
These changes in climate are a challenge, but they bring us new opportunities to work with nature and develop a better understanding of sustainable gardening for a mutual benefit.
In sync with nature,