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Erica


When seen at their best few shrubs are more attractive than the various species of Erica. On moors and hillsides in various parts of the country we find large tracts covered with Erica cinerea and Erica tetralix, while about the Lizard we get acres of Erica vagans growing luxuriantly.

These species, with many others, can be grown in gardens in all districts where plants of the Erica family thrive, and few shrubs better repay the trouble taken with them. It is the only genus of hardy shrubs that produces species or varieties to be in blossom the whole year round, for with a full collection flowers can be found from January to December.

The colours of the flowers range from white to rose, reddish purple, and deep red. For beds on the lawn they are excellent, while for the rockery, shrubbery, or wild garden they are serviceable. A light, peaty soil suits them best, and they may be increased by seeds, cuttings, or division. The following are all good:

Erica arborea, from the Mediterranean and Caucasus in 1658, grows 12 to 20 feet high, and bears white flowers in spring. E. a. Alpina is a dwarf variety.

Erica Australis is a red flowered species from Portugal, of rather loose habit, but very ornamental. It grows 5 feet high, and was introduced in 1769. It blooms in March and April.

Erica carnca is common in many parts of Europe. It grows 6 inches high, and bears red flowers from February to April. The variety alba has white flowers.

Erica ciliaris is a dwarf, red flowered species found in Corn­wall and other places. It blossoms during late summer and autumn. The variety iV[awiana, from Portugal, is of denser habit. The flowers are deep red.

Erica cinerea is a very showy plant, growing from 6 to 9 inches high, and bearing reddish purple flowers during late summer. Alba, atropurpurea, atrosanguinea, coccinea, and rosea are varieties worth having.

Erica Lusitanica, from Spain and Portugal, is very similar to Erica arborea. It usually flowers in early spring, and occasionally in winter.

Erica Mediterranea is found in south-western Europe. It forms a dense bush with pinkish flowers, which appear in March. The variety hybrida grows 1 foot high, and bears red flowers from December to April. It is one of the most floniferous of all. A form of this species known as Hibernica is found in. Ireland. Other varieties are alba, glauca, and nana.

Erica stricta, is an upright, stiff bush from southern Europe, bearing red flowers in August and September.

Erica tetralix, the Cross-leaved Heath, is common in many parts of England. It has red flowers; the variety alba has white blossoms.

Erica vagans, the Cornish Heath, is a handsome autumn flowering species, growing 12 or 2 feet high. The flowers are pinkish or pale red. There are varieties with white and deep red flowers.

Erica Veitchii is a hybrid between Erica arborea and Erica Lusitanica, raised by Mr. Veitch of Exeter. It is very floriferous.

Erica arborea, Australis, and Lusitanica should be given protection in severe weather.