Heath and Heather

Of the 8 National Plant Collections held at RHS Wisley, three are in the ERICACEAE family and are generally known as heathers.  However heather is the name used for Calluna, a genus of one species – vulgaris, whereas Erica, has more than 700 species and has the common name of heath.  The third ‘heather’ is the genus Daboecia, comprising two species, and this doesn’t seem to have an everyday name.  Maps of Wisley garden landmark the area of The Heather Collection and the beds have recently been replanted, with weeding assistance from the PH Surrey group.  Although by the beginning of December many of them have finished flowering, there is still colour showing either as flowers or foliage.

Other members of the ERICACEA family, which tend to be lime hating (calcifuge), are Rhododendron, cranberries and blueberries, so unfortunately no good for anyone like me, gardening on chalk.