Friday, October 10, 2008

The Annual Heath and Heather Sale

We went to the heath & heather farm for their annual sale last Sunday. One-gallon heaths and heather plants for $3.50, which is dirt-cheap for that size heath/heather. Usually they cost $4.50 to $7.00 for a four inch pot.

The woman who runs the farm always has sessions about plant care; I got to listen in on one of those sessions this year. I verified some of what I already knew: heaths/heathers need at least four to six hours of full sun a day; they don't like their roots sitting in water; you can trim them once or twice a year (spring and fall) to shape them but usually at least once after they flower; you must trim the old flowers off in order to keep the shape full otherwise they look sparse in the middle of the plant and don't thrive as well; sounds like you can trim them back even more than the flowers to shape them; if they are growing poorly you can trim back quite a bit, they will take some time to come back but will fill in and look better afterwards; they like acid soil, using rhodie fertilizer works fine for them but no more than once a year if at all; they survive in all kinds of severe climates; heaths and heathers tend to grow bigger than their stated size in our Humboldt coastal weather.

The nursery owner puts out a spread of snacks, hot coffee and tea for buyers every year at the annual sale. The sale is set in their backyard pasture which has a beautiful view of the hills and a really old twisted apple tree in the center of the yard. The tree was full of apples this year along with a bunch of tiny chickadees chirping and hopping through the branches. You could happily have a picnic in this pasture it is so beautiful and serene a setting. We bought six plants to set out in the front yard, there may even be one headed for the back yard flower bed.

Heaths and heathers are wonderful fall/winter plants, many bloom during this time or have beautiful colored foliage in the coldest of weather. I wanted even more color for my front yard for the fall and winter months and these plants are perfect for added seasonal color. This time I bought mostly erica/heaths with the big flower bells along with a few heathers. One of the plants is supposed to grow really big. I'm looking forward to seeing how it does with our full sun front yard. There were no tiny plants like they had last year at $2.00 a pop. I will be spending some quality time this weekend planting up the gallon heaths and heathers in my yard.

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