I have always been ambivalent about ericas, I wouldn’t go out of my way to get one but if they were being given away I wouldn’t turn my nose up. Logically I can appreciate their value in the garden and I could do a pretty good sales pitch – evergreen, pretty flowers in the depths of winter, useful late/early nectar source etc, but I’m afraid my heart is cold. Last week however this Erica carnea “Myretoun Ruby” caught my eye and to my surprise I think I’m thawing. Not sure how or why this is happening, perhaps it is because I have taken the time to look more closely. Another erica is planted almost next to it and is called “Rosalie”, which is a paler pink. It would probably benefit from having its own corner to shine in. Sprawling on the BLN bed we have Erica carnea “Springwood White” which is where I attempt to capture the early bumble bees to pollinate the peach and nectarine, admittedly with little success.
These ericas dislikes a limy soil but apart from that they are easy, you just ignore them and they sneakily spread sideways like melting icecream. Actually a bit of a haircut after flowering is probably advisable, radical pruning can be tricky, it is hard to maintain an attractive looking plant as it is easy to expose ugly bare bits; there is little worse than ugly bare bits. As this species grows densely low to the ground they make for ideal ground cover and therefore are efficient weed suppressers. In our case it cannot suppress the relentless lamium or the dreaded cymbalaria which bulldozer right through them.