Heath & Heather Collection
Typical bloom time:
Heaths – Year-round
Heathers – June through October
Heaths and heathers are beautiful, undemanding plants that require full sun, and cool soil with perfect drainage. Our mild maritime climate and sandy, acidic soils create an ideal environment for them. Broad differences in size and form, in addition to the wide variety of colors, allow exquisite arrangements of heathers and heaths in even small gardens. Flower colors are many and are complemented with foliage of copper, pink, gold, silvery gray, and almost infinite shades of green. Heaths (Erica) have needle-like foliage blooming early winter through the summer. Heathers (Calluna) have tighter, overlapping scale-like foliage blooming late summer through the fall.
In September 2010, the American Public Gardens Association recognized the Heath and Heather Collection at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens as a Collection of National Significance through its Plant Collections Network (formerly North American Plant Collections Consortium). The Plant Collections Network program coordinates a continent-wide approach toward plant germplasm preservation and recognizes high standards of plant curation management.
Plant Collections Network program participants are selected through a rigorous application and site review process. Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens stands among a prestigious group of gardens and arboreta that have committed themselves to the conservation and care of specific plant collections curated at the highest professional level. Participation in the Plant Collections Network means that the Gardens have agreed to make their collection available for increased distribution and research and to promote public awareness of the importance of preserving our horticultural heritage.
The Heath and Heather Collection at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is distinguished by its diversity of species and cultivated varieties beautifully displayed and cared for by its knowledgeable staff. The collection has been accepted after a three-year provisional status in the Plant Collections Network during which we strengthened plant records procedures to further enhance this fine collection.
2023 Heath and Heather Collection Improvement Project
Thanks to funding from the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust, the MCBG Heath and Heather Collection is receiving some extra attention new plantings, and improved trail accessibility! The Heath and Heather Collection Improvement Project will assist in the preservation and development of MCBG’s Heath and Heather Collection, which includes 125 live taxa of Erica, Daboecia, and Calluna.
The Collection saw a large amount of planting and expansion in the early 2000s. Now, 15 to 20 years later, many of the older plants are reaching their expected lifespan and need to be replaced. In the coming years, we will be developing our Heath and Heather collection to include more plants, more diversity, and more square footage. Many of our rare and hard-to-find plants are being propagated in-house, and others will be purchased or propagated from other Botanical Gardens. Our new plantings will be established with plant-specific soil medium and protected with mulch.
In addition to expanding our collection, improvements to trail accessibility will allow visitors with wheelchairs, electric mobility scooters, or strollers to enter the Heath and Heather Garden and enjoy a fuller experience of this nationally accredited collection.