HEATHER

How grand are the mountains of bonnie auld Scotland,Her torrents' wild waters, sun-jewel'd and gloaming;How rosy the breath of each moorland and heath,How lovely her lakes, and her valleys how blooming.No foreign strand, no classic land,Earth's fairest scenes together,Can win our praise like yonder braes,And fragrant hills of purple Heather.—G. Bennett.

Heather's charm Top

Heather's charm Cardigan

Heather, in all its varieties, shapes and colors, is one of my favorite plants and one of the many reasons why I look forward to visiting the Highlands of Scotland, where its little hardy flower has made it's mark on the wind swept landscape, rocky hills and moors until it has become a symbol of the region and its people.

And it's not just for her beauty, or her fragrance... if we're talking about usefulness, Heather is a firm candidate for first prize. In times gone by it was used to sweep the home, taking away the dust leaving behind a sweet aroma... very metaphorical, right? In the Highlands the medicinal properties of an infusion of heather tops were used to treat coughs, and to soothe the nerves, and heather tea and ointments were used to treat arthritis and rheumatism. ‘Moorland tea’ made from heather flowers, was reputed to be a favourite of the poet Robert Burns.

Heather has its fair share of legends attached to it. As the story of heather goes, when God created the world he looked at the bare hillsides of Scotland and decided that a plant was needed to make the slopes more beautiful. He asked the Oak, the Honeysuckle and the Rose but none were able to live in the harsh conditions. By chance he came upon a small, low-lying shrub with tiny white and purple flowers. It was Heather and He asked “Will you grow on the hillsides to make them more beautiful?”. Heather was not sure if she could do the job but said she would try her best. God was so pleased that he bestowed three gifts upon her; the strength of the Oak, the fragrance of the Honeysuckle and the sweetness of the Rose.

And last but not least, if you have a sweet tooth like me, you'll probably want to know that some of the world's award winning honey comes from Heather Hills Farm, in the stunning landscapes of rural Perthshire. The bees thrive on heather in the moorlands and create a fragrant heather honey that is not only delicious, it is also said to have health benefits too!.

Anyway, when I stumbled upon a wool whose colors matched Heather's so well, I couldn't help but use it to design not one, but two patterns, adding some white motifs, just in case the legend that says that white Heather brings good luck is true...