The minute I discovered heather growing in Scotland, I fell in love with the little plant. Ok, anything having to do with Scotland I fall in love with, but that’s beside the point of this post. I have a few stalks of it in a frame in my office from when I plucked it in Scotland a few years ago, and we have three bushes of it planted by our mail box so I can always watch it grow.
The other day I was researching how to make heather rope for my WIP and stumbled across this beautiful little story of the stalwart heather:
When God first created the world, He cast His eye upon the barren hills of Scotland and decided to cover it with a beautiful flower. He first turned to the mighty oak and asked if he would grow upon the bare hills, but the oak said the ground was far too rocky for his roots to grow and stretch. God then turned to the fair honeysuckle with her bright petals and sweet fragrance and asked if she would like to spread her tantalizing smell across the slopes, but the honeysuckle replied that she needs a wall or fence to grow up and a hill would be quite impossible. At last, God asked the most beautiful and delicate flower of all, the rose, if she would grace the hills with her splendor. The rose explained that the harsh wind and cold would destroy her and so she could not grow upon the hills. Disappointed, God turned away from the oak, honeysuckle, and rose and came across a low-lying green shrub with tiny purple and white flowers. A heather. God asked the small plant if she would like to grow upon the hills when all others had turned Him down. The heather considered the rain, cold, and rocky soil and was unsure she could do the job, but if God wanted her to then she would like to try. Pleased beyond words at the heather’s willingness, God granted her the strength of the oak, the fragrance of the honeysuckle, and the sweetness of the rose.
– the bark of the heather is the strongest of any tree and shrub in the whole world
– it’s fragrance is used in soaps and perfumes
– it’s a favorite of bees
– can be used to construct walls, roofs, mattresses, ropes, pot scrubbers, and baskets
– provides warmth if stuffed in clothes
– fuel for fires
-can make ale, whisky, tea, and honey
– plant badges for the clans