Saturday, 9:30 AM. 25 degrees F at the ferry dock, 23 on the back porch. Wind NW, strong. The sky is partly cloudy, the humidity 65%. The barometer is trending up, now at 29.76". As Buddy and I walked this morning the bitter wind blew constantly, encouraging me to pull the ear flaps down on my woolen cap. We were startled to encounter an inch of newly deposited snow that fell sometime early this morning, and more snow is predicted through Wednesday. Winter dies hard in the Northland.
Rounding the corner on 9th St. and Washington Ave. yesterday afternoon I came across an old friend. I should have been expecting to see the heather that blooms there every spring, but the weather has not been springlike and it caught me unawares.
Scotch heather, Calluna vulgaris, in the heath family, the Ericaceae, is one of the plants of the heaths and moors of the British Isles. This plant is one of very many horticultural varieties (I don't know which one) that have been introduced in this country and is hardy to at least zone 5, and since it obviously survives well in Bayfield, probably zone 4.
This plant is only twelve or eighteen inches tall and is spreading and mat-like. This particular spot is tough for any plant to grow in, and is covered by road ice and snow all winter. It blooms earlier than Forsythia but may last long enough to be seen in bloom at the same time.
It is a colorful and useful non-native landscape plant.