Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Heather Garden

Heather Garden at the Cottage Grove Community
Hospital, mid-January 2012
By Colette Kimball

In the middle of January, I had the opportunity to visit the Heather Garden at the Cottage Grove Community Hospital. I had heard about the Garden before, but had never had the opportunity to see it. I must say, on that dreary Sunday afternoon, I was pleasantly surprised; the Heather Garden was filled with the most brilliant reds, accented by light pinks and chartreuse – all in the middle of January!

One of the perks of being Club president is that I get to meet and talk with others in the gardening community, and serendipitously just a few days after my visit to the Heather Garden, I received an email from Ella May Wulff of the Oregon Heather Society. I learned from Ella May about the short history of the Garden and the Oregon Heather Society’s goals.

A brief history
Planting of the Heather Garden began in the fall of 2004, after the Facilities Director of the Community Hospital contacted the Oregon Heather Society about planting a heather garden on a steep slope near a drainage ditch. Since that initial planting, plans have changed to accommodate other plantings, an accidental oil spill, and other problems that one might expect when planting in a publicly-accessible space such as this. The outcome is a bright spot of color in the middle of January.

How you can help
Twice each year, members from the Oregon Heather Society gather in Cottage Grove (some driving over two hours to get here) to prune and maintain the Heather Garden. Members of the community and the Garden Club, are encouraged to help. The next pruning party is Sunday, March 10, from 11am to 1pm. Please join us!

The Heather Garden is on Village Street just before the Emergency Entrance. You’ll learn about heathers and heather culture, and have the opportunity to take home clippings to root and begin your own heather garden. Bring clippers, a knee pad, and a lunch to enjoy with others after the heather is pruned.

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