WISDOM OF SOLOMON’S SEAL
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’