Gardens in Europe: Basel, Switzerland

Basel, SwitzerlandWhile we were in Basel, Switzerland, we did a lot of walking and occasionally hopped onto one of their trams if we had quite a lot of distance to cover. The cool thing about staying in hotels in Basel is that all guests are given a free “mobility ticket” which gives you unlimited rides on the trams. Boy, I wish all cities did that for their visitors, don’t you?

During our wanderings, we saw some interesting plantings that caught my eye. The top photo is a combination of white-flowered heathers, ornamental kale and some type of red fescue. That makes a nice effect for this time of year.

While we were on a tram but at a stop, I saw these two other planters (see 2nd and 3rd photos) and really wanted to jump off the tram to take a photo of them! My husband persuaded me to stay seated, ha, but the next day, we were walking along the street and I saw these planters again. Hooray! So I was able to take a couple of photos of the planters at my leisure, just knowing you’d be interested in them.

Basel, SwitzerlandAs you can see, this is a combination of a chartreuse-colored heather and a whole bunch of heucheras (coral bells) with varying colors of foliage. Is that cool or what? I know the heucheras are perennials and heather must be grown as a perennial over there as well, but how do they keep everything tidy and small? I thought you’d be particularly interested in seeing this combination. Maybe the folks who maintain the beds had just given all of the heucheras end-of-the-season haircuts? Or maybe because they’re all grown so closely together, they retain their petite size… not that heucheras tend to get large and unruly, that is.

Basel, SwitzerlandBut boy, do I wish heather was hardy enough to grow year-round in Spokane! But for those of you who are reading this blog and live in a bit warmer climate, you are welcome to steal this idea!

After doing a bit of research, it looks like heather is hardy for zones 4-6 but we’ve tried growing them here and they never made it through the winter. Has anyone had any luck with them in the Inland Northwest?