I am always surprised when I round the corner of 9th St. and Washington Ave. early in the spring and see the Scotch heather blooming, as invariably it was covered by snow and ice only days ago. This plant was just breaking bud yesterday, and will bloom for at least three weeks, maybe more. It bloomed on April 2nd, 2016, and on April 3rd, 2015, so it is right on time.
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 particular 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 so inches tall, and is spreading and mat-like. This particular spot is tough for any plant to grow in, as it is covered by road ice and snow all winter. It blooms earlier than Forsythia but usually lasts long enough to be seen in bloom at the same time.
Heather is a colorful and useful non-native landscape plant.