Heather in the garden
With its unusual appearance, heather has long attracted the attention of a person who has found various uses for this plant. In ancient Greece, brooms and panicles were made from heather, which was reflected in its scientific name “calluna” (translated from Greek means “clean”), and even today, in places where it grows in large quantities, it is used, you can say , for the same purpose: as a broom for a steam room. Heather - a good dye, in addition, contains tannins and is used in leather dressing.
Common heather (Calluna vulgaris) is an evergreen plant, the only species of the genus Heather (Calluna) of the Heather family.
Useful properties of heather
In herbal medicine, heather is known as an anti-inflammatory, diuretic, sedative. They also make baths and compresses for radiculitis, rheumatism, and bruises.
Prepared from heather and tea. To a pinch of dried flowers of heather add a pinch of leaves of forest raspberries, wild strawberries, mountain ash, linden and brewed like ordinary tea. It will be even tastier if you let it brew for 4-5 hours. Harvest heather when it blooms profusely. Its leafy branches are dried in the shade with good ventilation and stored for 2 years.
Heather is a good honey plant, although its honey is tart and bitter. The English writer Robert Lewis Stevenson, a Scot by birth, outlined in an poetic form the old Scottish ballad Heather Honey (we know it in the translation of S. Marshak). I will not retell it, I think that many have read and remember this work, very poetic and full of tragedy.
Heather in the garden
I have long wanted a heather, familiar from childhood in this ballad, to grow in my area. Twice we tried to transplant it to a garden plot from the forest, but everything was in vain: the heather immediately began to dry and soon perished. And only the third time, when we dug it with a large lump of earth, it took root and the next year bloomed, as it should be, at the end of summer.
This small, 30-70 cm tall shrub is very similar to a miniature conifer. And the heather wood, dense and resinous, also bears a resemblance to coniferous wood; its narrow, scaly-like leaves, arranged closely in four rows, resemble the strongly reduced needles of a Christmas tree. Heather is one of our evergreens, and its leaves remain green under the snow.
Heather blooms noticeably and beautifully: its upper branches are covered with many lilac or lilac-pink flowers, collected in one-sided thick elegant brushes. The fruits of heather are small capsules with the smallest seeds that are easily carried by the wind, however, over short distances.
Heather is extremely dry-loving and undemanding to growing conditions. In nature, it can be seen among pine trees, on dry sand, poor in nutrients, in large treeless areas where it forms continuous thickets, and even among mosses.
Heather also grows on moisture-rich peat bogs. This can be explained by the fact that in the swamps, moss traps the sun's rays, which is why the water under it always remains cold, and cold water either does not enter the roots of plants at all, or it does poorly. Under these conditions, heather is very important to retain moisture, and leaflets, almost folded into a tube, help him in this, which minimizes the loss of moisture.
Wild heather is a useful and undemanding plant, although, like many forest "aborigines", the transplant does not tolerate well. Now on sale there are decorative luxuriously blooming heathers that take root easily, but are capricious and require dry shelter for the winter (peat, leaves).