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Re: heather

Well, one thing you-all in the midwest need to keep in mind with this
is that it wants acid soil - either peaty or sandy, but acid - pH of
4.5 to 6.5- so if yours is naturally neutral to alkaline, there's
going to be part of the problem.

While it is native down the European coast to Africa, the biggest
concentration is in the northern parts of Europe, which, even on the
continent, do not get as hot (normally) as most of the US does each
summer.   I still think the heat combined with humidity that much of
the US gets factors into its demise in a lot of gardens (including
mine).  I read that it often grows in sand, so maybe that's why the
one in my sandbed is the only one that seems to be staying with me.

Donna, if you got a naturally small variety and then pruned it little
and often, you could probably keep it small.  I have found that if
you prune back into old wood that doesn't have leaf buds, that bit
will just die - won't sprout new leaves, so think you'd have to keep
clipping to encourage leaf sprouting - like, not whack it back hard
once a year and forget it.  

Auralie, I'm sure there are varieties - clones - that are hardy where
you are; just think you have to look out for just those plus give it
very sharp drainage.

Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
Editor:  Gardening in Shade
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