The garden here in Michigan has for the most part gone dormant already but for one little plant its annual time to shine is beginning just now. My winter heath (Erica carnea) is opening the first of its crystalline white buds, delicately flushed in shades of lilac-pink. It has been growing ever more vigorously since a weedy nearby maple tree has been removed and it thus receives much more water. This year the whole little bush, about a foot (ca. 30cm) across, is densely studded with buds in a way it never has been in the eight or so years I have had the plant.
Winter heath (Erica carnea)
Considering how carefree and resilient this little plant has been and how well it grows now that it enjoys more adequate conditions, I am surprised that it is not more commonly planted around here. Leafy evergreens and plants that strongly prefer acidic soils such as most heathers generally do very poorly in this part of Michigan but that does not seem to deter landscapers and home gardeners from sacrificing thousands of rhododendrons and hollies every year. All the more odd then that this hardy plant has not gained more of a following.