Plant heather, bees will thank you

Have you ever watched the bees working the heathers on a nice sunny day? It is a wonderful sight at this time of the year. One year at the Cobble Hill Fall Fair, I explained to a bee keeper where my garden was situated and that I had many heather plants.

His reply was, "I thought there was heather in my honey – my hives were near your garden a few years ago."

I also believe that my heathers help to feed the hummingbirds all year.

Heathers are workhorse plants that add much interest to the garden and are relatively resistant to deer. Many varieties change their foliage to very bright colours during the winter and spring. Foliage colour ranges from greens to yellow to bronze and many shades in between. As well, there are several varieties that develop cream, red, yellow or pink spring tips. Depending on the varieties that we plant, we can have flowers from January to December, again with a wide range of colour.

To give you a start with the heather and heaths in your garden, plan to attend the annual Vancouver Island Heather Society’s spring sale which will take place on Saturday, March 29 at the Cobble Hill Farmer’s Institute Hall.

The sale will begin at 10 a.m. and run until noon or until sold out.

Experienced buyers will advise you that it is essential to get to the hall prior to the sale starting in order to get the best selection.

We always have unusual varieties on hand. In addition, starter kits consisting of 10 plants and a planting diagram will be available. Members of the Society will be on hand to help you make your choices.

Elaine Scott is a member of the Vancouver Island Heather Society.