Heather in winter
It struck me recently how beautiful the heather looks, even in winter. We have three kinds of heather here on the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area and they all hold onto their flowers through the winter. Then another random thought struck me…later in the year, when they’re all blooming, there’ll be no trace of the old flower heads. So at what point in the season do they all fall off? I’ll be keeping an eye on my local patch this year to see!
The Common Heather, also called Ling, is easy to spot, it’s the most widespread and has many, many tiny flowers. This is the heather that puts on such a great show from late July, turning the landscape purple. Something I look forward to every year.
Bell Heather, so bright and vibrant in the summer, is still recognisable in winter. The magenta is gone, but the bell-shaped petals hang on.
And lastly, Cross-leaved Heath. In summer it sports clusters of soft pink flowers, with slivery foliage. Different but just as beautiful in winter.
Thames Basin Heaths Partnership