winter gardens: heaths & heathers

Our soil stinks — clay and big chunks of limestone just about anywhere I stick the shovel — but through trial and error and a lot of amendment, I’ve found several heaths and heathers that do well in the Midwest. My favorite is the easier-to-grow winter-blooming Ericas. Not only do they thrive under the lacy shelter of our weeping hemlocks, there’s something magical about finding blooms from October through May, even if it’s completely natural. For winter care, all you need to do is keep the worst of the snow weight brushed off. You can find tips for growing in your region, get help selecting the right collection and order online at Heaths & Heathers. I think my pic above is of Erica x darleyensis “Darley Dale.” (Either our terrier pup stole the tag — likely — or I was looking in the wrong spot in the yard.) I have also ordered from Rock Spray in Truro, MA but the site seems to have disappeared! — Sarah L.

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