Today, I embarked on a journey up Bennachie, a majestic landscape that never fails to delight me. Despite the foggy and dreich weather, we set off in search of the previously elusive cross-leaved heath. There’s something magical about exploring nature on misty days; it adds an air of mystery and a touch of ethereal beauty to the landscape.
Finding this particular plant had proven to be quite a challenge in the past. The mass of similar heathers on Bennachie made it seem like searching for a needle in a massive haystack. However, to my delight, the recent flowering had transformed this task into a relatively easier one. The larger vibrant pinky blossoms stood out against the smaller purple bell heather, making it easy to spot, although it was the flowers that had already passed their prime that initially caught our attention. Their brilliant peachy colour made them stand out amidst the heathland landscape.
This delicate flowering plant, known for its distinctive crossed arrangement of leaves, is one of the five plants I have selected for my final project. I can’t wait to introduce you to each of them through the upcoming blog posts. Scientifically known as Erica tetralix, it is a perennial plant that belongs to the heather family, Ericaceae. Its leaves, as the name suggests, are arranged in whorls of four, making it easily identifiable… once you find it! Thriving in wet and boggy habitats, the cross-leaved heath finds its ideal home on Bennachie, where the damp and misty conditions, such as today, provide the perfect environment for it to flourish. With my ever-enthusiastic furry sidekick by my side, I snapped some photos and carefully collected a few samples to serve as a valuable reference for my future illustrations.
Now, back in the cosy confines of my studio, I can set about colour matching and creating measured drawings of the cross-leaved heath. This allows me to capture the plant’s intricate details and present them authentically in my botanical illustrations.
Today’s adventure up Bennachie was nothing short of magical. The discovery of the cross-leaved heath amidst the misty landscape filled me with joy and inspiration. I hope this glimpse into my adventure has sparked your curiosity and ignited a newfound appreciation for the cross-leaved heath and the plants of Bennachie. Stay tuned for more updates as I continue my botanical journey and share the wonders of nature through my art.