One of the plants that came out of that sports festival (haha, punny...) was a particularly woolly, blue-grey plant that has surpassed all the other fuzzy grey heathers that appeared in my garden. It may even have a stronger color than any I've seen in nurseries, though I'm willing to bet nurseries specializing in heaths and heathers have comparable selections.
It's especially wonderful on a misty or foggy morning. The fuzzy little leaves capture condensation and the whole plant glows and sparkles (yes, both).
The grey foliage contrasts nicely with the pink and red stems of the new growth. The color does diminish as the season progresses, but it remains a nice smoky grey.
The stats on Calluna vulgaris:
- Hardy in USDA zones 4a-9b
- Full sun, but tolerates some shade
- Fairly drought tolerant, but best with deep watering every other week or so during the hottest parts of summer
- Best in acid soil with good drainage, tolerates clay (this plant is growing in dense, packed clay, slightly sloped)
- Generally grows 1-2' tall by 2-3' wide (not sure what this specific selections ultimate size or growth habit are, as it is sheared annually, currently about 6-8" tall by a little over 1' wide)
- Blooms in late summer/early fall, with flowers ranging from white through lilac, pink, to almost red (this selection is either lilac or fuchsia with white)
Many heathers have showy flowers and I love them for their late season show, but I admit to not remembering what this one looks like in bloom. With this one, it's really the foliage that does it for me. My favorite plant in the garden is hosted by Danger Garden. Tune in at the end of the month to see a round-up of her favorites and the favorites of other bloggers.