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:
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."
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."