I always think of heathers as somewhat gloomy(I was reared on Thomas Hardy’s novels of Egdon Heath), but they are beloved by so many gardeners that I am learning to see them with new eyes.
Heathers are evergreen sub-shrubs, many of which are calcifuge. But E. cornea is a lime-tolerant species, hardy and Winter-flowering, usually grown either in the rock garden, or as a thick, mat-forming ground-cover for larger beds or banks. It likes full sun. The bell-shaped, white or pink, grow in thick pendant clusters, and the plants spread sideways to as much as 4 feet (1.2 m), so that they should be planted at intervals of 2 feet (60 cm) to make a quick, thick carpet. Keep them weeded until they have formed their network of . E. cornea comes in white and several shades of pink and red, and these can be grouped to make a tapestry if you have enough space. If you are confined to a single variety, I suggest the large-flowered ‘Sprmgwood White’ to catch the pale winter sunlight. A prostrate juniper, like/ horizontalis, would make a striking contrast, but the dwarf pyramidal conifers, like exclamation marks, which are com-monly used with heathers, are too Dis-neyland for me.
Clip heathers over after flowering, which, apart from the initial weeding, is all the attention they should need.