Heathers and heaths
Heathers and heaths are small evergreen shrubs. Heathers have scaly leaves, while heaths have needle-shaped leaves. The spectacular flowering and extensive catalog of colours and varieties are perfect
for any design of garden. They are very decorative plants, but under one condition, they have to be planted on well-prepared soil. They are similar to perennials, in that, we use them for ‘finishing
touches’ in our garden. To obtain a spectacular effect, it is better when they are grown in groups; and in conjunction with different decorative plants such as dwarf coniferous, birches and brooms.
Heathers and heaths can decorate the garden, not only when they are flowering; but also their distinct coloration: can provide us with a beautiful carpeting effect throughout year.
Azalea and Japanese azalea
The name “azalea” and “Japanese azalea” are in colloquial speech only; and it defines them as shrubs, adherent to the genus Rhododendron: which is part of the heather family. The most important
requirement for this family is that they need an acidic soil (pH 3. 5-4.5). Azaleas are plants that drop their leaves in autumn, and this helps them to survive the winter and spring ground frosts.
Modern varieties of azaleas are hybrids of pontine azaleas, crossed together with many North American species. One of its characteristics is the huge scope and multitude of varieties. The basic colours
are white, orange, red, and pink: as well as many other different shades. Individual shrubs bloom, usually lasts 2-3 weeks. To obtain the best effect in your garden, you need to organize your planting,
so that the different timing of blooms lets you see the best results: which you can view from the middle of April until June. In October, the azalea leaves cover most of the exquisite colours of autumn,
from yellow, orange, to a purplish red. Shrubs without covering, winter very well, though very sharp frosts, can damage floral buds. Azaleas shrubs are slow growers. After ten years growth (dependant
on which variety) they can achieve about 1.5 m in height and diameter. Japanese azaleas are low evergreens or half-evergreens, and their height does not usually exceed 100 cm. They create an exquisite
carpet of inflorescences, in many shades of pink, reddens, violet, as well as white. The abundance and variety of ( the )inflorescence colours means, that they are a perfect supplement for a composition
of azaleas; as well as being an indispensable part of a Japanese garden, Heathers garden, and low and dwarf conifers gardens. With Japanese azaleas, it is advisable to cover them before winter with
conifer branches, or double the layer of horticultural shading fabric. There are many possibilities in the garden for the azaleas use. They can grow in the direct sun, as well as in the shade. Azaleas
and Japanese azaleas look very splendid arranged in multicoloured groups. Planting in a bigger numbers, can create a superior effect. One way of presenting azaleas, is to use coniferous trees and shrubs
in large groups in the background. In the foreground, we can plant medium perennials, low coniferous trees; or different varieties of heathers, e.g. heathers or heath. The banks of water reservoirs
are the ideal position for groups of multicoloured azaleas. The reflection on the surface of the water multiplies the effect, and creates an idyllic atmosphere. From the perspective of the landscape
designer, azaleas through practice are an excellent plant used in wooden planting boxes, or in many assortments of display pots either for the terrace or for balcony.