Heather in the garden
They cheer up gardens and terraces throughout the autumn and winter, but in reality they are small shrubs present in Italy even in nature, they are the heather, small ground-covering evergreens. There are several species of heather, among which the most cultivated are Erica carnea and erica gracilis; Calluna vulgaris and the species belonging to the genus Daboecia are also called heather: in fact they are very similar to heather, which bloom at the same time of the year.
In nature, heathers are small ground cover shrubs, with bright green needle-like leaves and small pink or white flowers; in the nursery we can instead find various species and cultivars of heather, with flowers of an intense red to white color, from light pink to lilac, and green, grayish, reddish or yellowish foliage. In some cases they are particular species, in other cases of cultivars or hybrids of heather, calluna or daboecia.
An evergreen plant
Heather is an evergreen plant, which therefore has persistent leaves throughout the year; this value, and the autumn flowering, make it a very suitable plant for cultivation as an ornamental plant, as it allows us to color the garden even when the other plants are in vegetative rest. In reality, not all heather species bloom in this period of the year, for example the arboreal heather, very common in the foothills, produces its small flowers in spring, and so many other species. In the nursery in this period of the year, the autumn flowering species are mainly available, whose small flowers bloom now, or even in the coming months. The heather flowers, produced in profusion, so as to make the whole shrub pink, are generally very persistent, and remain on the plant throughout the winter, even after wilting. Heather branches are also widely used to produce dried flowers.