London (change)
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27/02/2014 at 12:34

I would like to plant up some bare patches among my healthy heather plants any suggestions would be welcome.

Many thanks 

27/02/2014 at 19:16

I know that some people don't consider grasses to be 'flowering plants' but I think that some of them have beautiful flowers or inflorescences, and I think the movement of grasses in the wind would look beautiful and in keeping with heathers.

27/02/2014 at 20:04

The smaller varieties of the rhododendron family azaleas etc will love the acid conditions that erica thrive in. Pic the smaller ones they will go ok.

27/02/2014 at 21:54

I wouldn't have anything amongst heathers except dwarf conifer or two.  The beauty  of heathers is when they form undulating carpets

03/03/2014 at 23:23

Thanks to Dovefromabove and Dave Morgan will try both of your suggestions.

Verdun - thanks for your suggestion of small conifers which is just what I have in my other heather bed and I'm pleased with that result. With this bed I wanted a bit more colour on show.

Again thanks for taking the time to suggest and reply. 

03/03/2014 at 23:34

I say this as a Scot: dig the heathers up and burn them. lol That's just my opinion. I hate the flippin things. Live and let live , each to his own. I'm so glad we're all different.

I started work in the garden centre industry in 1979 , and it was all, ground cover/ heather, dwarf conifer( I blame Adrian Bloom ). I've never got over it.


04/03/2014 at 00:00

Been through the heather and conifer period.......loved what Adrian Bloom did.  Fantastic all year round colour etc.  However having a limited size garden and wamting to grow other things I limited myself to an area for heathers. They are on a slope amd set off shrubs behind them;  they add winter colour through foliage and flower;  they are low maintenance. My soil is neutral therefore precluding acid loving callunas, etc but if I had acid soil I would grow a lot more.

So, in my neutral soil I have grown pinks among my heathers......their blue foliage and summer flowers perfectly complement winter heathers.  E.g. Yellow foliage carneas look good with blue dianthus foliage.  Penstemons too can look good as individuals among heathers.  

I have to differ from Hostafan......sorry hosta.....but Adrian Bloom inspired me.  His island beds, his foliage contrasts........mixing purple foliaged shrubs with conifers and others......and his use of perennials was, still is, womderful for me.

 Roses are so popular but not for me.  They produce beautiful summer flowers, sometimes, but everybody grows them and mostly they grow them BADLY.  They are often grown without companion plants so provide scratchy ugly scenery for most of the autumn and winter months.  No, heathers are a classier option.  


04/03/2014 at 06:39

Verdun, have you seen this new video of Bressingham?

04/03/2014 at 18:17
I have filled the outer edge of a circular bed with Winter-flowering heathers. They are now in their second year, but haven't flowered as well as last year. Is this anything to do with the excessive rain we've had here in Dorset?
04/03/2014 at 18:55

Those island beds and wonderful perennials at Bressingham were Alan Bloom's work. 

I should think the conifer/heather thing makes Adrian cringe now,  it was 30 or 40 years ago but it's what he's noted for

04/03/2014 at 19:09

No, nut.  I don't think he would "cringe" at all.  I guarantee any tv prog featuring heathers and conifers will have a surge of wanna be  too 

Adrian Bloom I recall....took over Foggy Bottom to grow those heathers, etc and raise new perennials for his island beds.  Alan Bloom ...his father....grew wonderful perennials but not those heathers etc..........

04/03/2014 at 19:12

It would be interesting to have his thoughts

04/03/2014 at 19:13

the whole "heather / dwarf conifer" thing was all the rage when I left school and went to work at the local garden centre in 1979. Maybe I just had too much of them back then?

04/03/2014 at 19:16

I certainly did Hostafan and I wasn't even a gardener then. Moorland plants in the Cambridgeshire countryside?


04/03/2014 at 19:20

My understanding is that Alan Bloom is reviving the beds at Foggy Bottom, incorporating grasses to give movement - I'm sure I saw/heard  an interview with him a few months back where he spoke about this - it's what gave me the idea of interplanting the OP's heathers with grasses. 

04/03/2014 at 19:30

Thanks Dove.  never been there but drove past many years back.

Womderful gardens there.  My enjoyment of grasses, foliage colours and contrasts....including heathers ......and pure inspiration came from Adrian Bloom.  

I share your desire to use grasses Dove.  Always adding the odd one or two every year.

04/03/2014 at 19:46

...if these heathers are winter flowering, then an exciting thing to try is plant a Clematis viticella in amongst them, and allow it to ramble all over the heaths for a vibrant midsummer show.... then cutting the Clematis back to ground level in November, so it conveniently allows the heathers to steal the show....alone....

....Clematis 'Huldine' is another variety that would be suitable, with its upturned flowers.....   this is not a new idea.... but an adventurous thing to do...  I wouldn't do it with summer flowering heaths though, personally....

04/03/2014 at 20:08

I once went crazy planting clematis over a whole range of shrubs.  A Ribes looked sensational in summer...A magical curtain of purple.  However, the flowerimg currant suffered the following spring...bare patches of both leaf and flower.  Now I keep clematis to supports like arches, wall wires etc.  You can't have both performing  to,the max.  

Clematis scrambling over heathers does same thing and kills off much of the foliage of heathers. Anything among heathers needs to be erect and separate.......for me

04/03/2014 at 21:00

..paragraphs 4 and 5..... each to their own I suppose but I do understand your concerns and personal experience...

..the late John Treasure of Burford House, Shropshire, also recommended growing this way, as noted and enjoyed by the late Christopher Lloyd, in his ''Cuttings - A Year In The Garden'' do other breeders it seems... it's for the more adventurous...and if one's heathers are strong growers, as most winter ones usually are, then there shouldn't be a problem... all part of gardening as I see it...

05/03/2014 at 00:00

It's what makes for good debate and forums....that we are all different and therefore interesting.  My conifers for example are as good as can be so,that they look good as specimens in the winter without browning or blemish.  Probably I am a little "precious" in this regard but nice clean shapes are an attraction for me in my garden

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