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The Heather in Lore, Lyric and Lay
In the British Colonies


The Heather in the British Colonies

In order to make the information on the Heather contained herein as comprehensive in its character as possible, I communicated with gentlemen in the different British colonies concerning the plant in their respective localities, and have pleasure in subjoining their replies:

In Australia

Messrs. Searl & Sons, of Sydney, N. S. W., March 10, 1902, say: "We desire to say that the Scotch Heather does not succeed in Australia at all. The only heaths that are cultivated here are such as Erica ventricosa, and others of this class. These thrive remarkably well in Victoria, but do not succeed very well in our state. They thrive best, as a rule, in light, sandy soil."

The Messrs. Searl were also kind enough to obtain the views of Dr. Maiden, Director of the Botanic Gardens at Sydney, on the subject, who says: "I know of no cultivation of Calluna vulgaris in Australia. It requires much the same cultivation as Erica, and it is assumed that it would flourish in the spongy moorland plains of our Southern Ranges, e. g., the Snaurv Mountains."

In New Zealand

Mr. George Cooper, of Wellington, N. Z., replies as follows:
"From inquiries which I have made I find that the common Scotch Heather (Erica cinerea) and also the tree Heather (Calluna vulgaris) have been grown here by a few persons in private gardens. There are several other species which grow satisfactorily, including E. vulgaris rubra, and E. vulgaris carnea. Of the cultivation of the latter I can speak from personal experience. They grow and flower freely in an ordinary light garden loam in a sunny position. Calluna vulgaris and Erica cinerea I have not grown myself, but one may take it for a certainty that they thrive in a similar soil and position to that of their native habitat."

In South Africa

Mr. R. W. Adlam, Curator of Joubert Park, Johannesburg, writes: "Erica spp. are very rare in the Transvaal, which is a grass country. It is only when we get near to the southwestern province of the Cape, within a hundred miles of Cape Town, where the winter and spring rains are heavy, and the soil sandy, that we find heaths plentiful. A few heaths are found on the coast, near Port Elizabeth and near Durban, such as Erica ceranthoides, but they are rare. Here, at an elevation of five thousand feet, the winter is too cold for heaths to survive in the open. Our winter is very dry and summer very wet, which seems to suit the constitution of the Ericas very poorly. We have no Ericas in cultivation here, and Scotch Heather (Calluna vulgaris) is only seen as herbarium specimens.

"A wet, almost frostless winter and spring, and a dry summer, with a deep, sandy soil—white sand—and thorough drainage, evidently suit Cape heaths better than anything else."

In India

Mr. H. St. John Jackson, editor and proprietor of "Indian Gardening and Planting," in Calcutta, replies as follows: "The Scotch Heather is unknown in this country. Occasional attempts have been made to introduce it here, but these all proved failures. On the hills (Himalayas and Nilgiris) the plant is grown as an interesting exotic. So far back as 1854 the Erica speciosa was raised from seed and produced flowers: but at the present time the heaths are practically unknown out here."


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