WIS­DOM OF SOLOMON’S SEAL

EDP Norfolk - - GARDEN GUIDE -

May is one of the most en­joy­able months to be out in the gar­den with the fresh bright new leaves and shoots emerg­ing. One plant with in­ter­est­ing new shoots push­ing through the soil is Polyg­o­na­tum x hy­bridum (Solomon’s seal).

The stems have the leaves curled around them as they emerge but they quickly un­furl and reach their full height, arch­ing over to re­veal the ivory coloured flow­ers hang­ing un­der pairs of green leaves.

There is also an ex­cep­tional var­ie­gated va­ri­ety – Polyg­o­na­tum x hy­bridum ‘Stria­tum’ – which is one of my favourite shade-lov­ing plants. It has won­der­ful un­du­lat­ing green and white striped leaves on arch­ing stems to around 45cm, with creamy white flow­ers hang­ing be­neath; these can be fol­lowed by small black berries. Although not as vig­or­ous as the green va­ri­ety, its rhi­zomes spread steadily to make a good showy clump which will catch the eye wher­ever it’s planted.

From the same fam­ily as Polyg­o­na­tum is Dis­porop­sis pernyi, some­times called the ev­er­green Solomon’s seal.

This un­usual and un­com­mon rhi­zoma­tous peren­nial from south­ern China has up­right stems to around 45cm with pairs of glossy green leaves; it’s from these leaf axes that the pen­du­lous, lightly scented creamy white flow­ers ap­pear from early sum­mer.

Although they are un­fussy and adapt­able to most soils Solomon’s seal grow best in hu­mus rich soil in par­tial to full shade.

A beau­ti­ful sight in May – Polyg­o­na­tum fal­ca­tum ‘Stiria­tum’

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