IT IS not always obvious what to write about each week and this week I was struggling – and then whilst at work three customers in a row asked me about heathers. So, by popular demand, heathers it is.

Heathers are beautiful in any garden anywhere and, in my opinion, just scream “Scotland” don’t you think?

They are low maintenance plants whose blooms last for months and look good all year round.

Probably the reason I was being asked about heathers is because autumn is the best time to plant them, so my ever-organised customers were thinking ahead.

There are two different heather families – Calluna and Erica – but I wouldn’t get too hung up on the difference, just think of them as sisters; Erica in Ancient Greek means broom and Calluna means to clean! Both were used as broom heads in times gone by and that is where their similar names come from.

Varieties to look out for are calluna vulgaris ‘Kinlochruel’ with its double white flower and calluna vulgaris ‘County Wicklow’ with a double pink flower

In the same vein as the Greek names, us Scots are all aware of the phrase “lucky white heather”. I have heard a few stories of where this saying originated but my favourite is that of Cluny of Clan MacPherson’s escape after the battle of Culloden. It is said that his enemies couldn’t find him as he lay on a bed of white heather.

Whether this is true or not, I think we could all do with some lucky white heather in our gardens.

Plant of the week: Crocosmia lucifer/montbretia lucifer

This is a brilliant plant for late summer with the most spectacular spikey red flowers against a beautiful lush green leaf. It is pretty hardy and will survive the Scottish frost easily and grow to about a metre or so in height with quite a compact spread of about half a metre at most. It thrives in sun or partial shade, and prefers well drained soil. It looks fantastic in borders and beds as it is great at adding some drama.

Colin, of Caulders Garden Centres, has been working in the gardening industry for over 30 years and owns seven garden centres across central Scotland and is passionate about Scottish plants.