Wednesday, 5 September 2012


A friend in America recently asked me to describe heather and Irealised how much we start to take for granted the things on our own doorsteps. When I first arrived here everything was a wonder and amazement, but now, after ten years, I'm starting to forget the times when I too had not a clue what heather or thistles actually looked like.  I've taken a selection of photos of heather, from those I took the day we went off to the Highland Wildlife Park.

The thing about heather is that it is very subtle. It grows on hills and even in forests, but for most of the year it's a very low scrubby plant with dull green leaves that you barely notice. On hillsides it just looks dirty green-brown. Then late summer arrives and it flowers and... it's still incredibly subtle. The flowers are tiny and naturally coloured soft smoky purples and pinkish-mauve. As a result flowering heather comes across as low bursts of smoky colour you notice through trees, or it's an equally misty haze of colour on mountains in the distance. 

Can you see the heather flowering on these mountains? (click on photos to enlarge)

How about now, as I zoom in a bit closer... ?

Unless the sun is right, you can hardly notice that those mountainsides are tinted purple. Let's get even closer and look at it flowering amongst the trees by the roadside...

Now can you see it? Can you see the heather going up the hill all the way to the top? I love this next photo because of the striking different colours of that shocking pink willow weed in the front and those cute blue bobbly flowers that I have no name for. They looked just amazingly bright against the heather. :)

I'll go closer, so you can see just how tiny those heather flowers are. No wonder they look like coloured mist on the mountains!

Up really close you can see that each flower is a perfect little bell...

Just beautiful. :-)


  1. Beautiful, Michelle! Thanks for the pics!

  2. I LOVE heather and used to grow it when I was living in No. Ca. In fact, the mountains of Scotland and the mountains of No. CA seem very similar in character to me.

    In S Ca you see entire mountain sides covered in Ice Plant fr. South Africa with it's brilliant blooms... always looks like a child just drenched the field with color.

    Are the little yellow blooms waxy looking? They look similar to a weed I see here, but didn't/don't know.


  3. Thanks, I've never seen heather before. You take wonderful photos!

  4. Scottish hillsides covered in heather. :D

  5. Oh, so THOSE are called heather? I never knew, either! :-) THANKS for sharing the pics. LOVE 'em!

  6. Hi Betty


    Thanks, now I can visualise some bits of America better. :-)

    I'm not sure about the yellow flowers. They look like something we get in South Africa as a weed in the lawn, a kind of shamrock plant type, but I didn't take the time to check these as I was more focessed on the heather.

    Hi Den
    Yep, Heather is just lovely. :-)

    And the willow weed looks exactly like a plant I've seen in your photos as fire weed! Maybe the same plant?

  7. Yeah, I also recognize the willow weed 'coz it looks so similar to the fire weed. Maybe they're the same plant or the same species at least? :-)



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