Farm House Observations: Second Edition - Solomn's seal

Posted on May 01, 2016 by Ed Coughlin

Every spring I wait in anticipation for the perennials I planted last summer to return. Maybe I didn’t have the ideal spot in the garden for them, but they looked good at the local nursery or were priced to sell at one of the big box stores - so in the ground they went!

Most perennials do return and thrive to become those “pass along” favorites like daylilies, irises, and daises.  But I think I ‘m around a 3 to 1 kill ratio for some of the newly introduced and highly priced Echinacea, Coreopsis, and Heuchera plants.

One lesser known perennial that never surrenders to a nasty winter, or a less than ideal location, is Solomn’s seal, or polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’ to be official.

Like Eucalyptus, Solomn’s seal is considered a culturally significant plant for its medicinal and restorative value. It is said to be under study by the National Institute of Health for its potential benefits to heart health.

It can be tough to find in retail settings, but if you ever notice (for lack of a better description) a variegated, small “hosta-like” leaf on the end of a narrow stalk, scoop it up and plant it in light shade.

In early spring sturdy stalks push aside pine straw and begin to unravel.  This is the ideal time to devide, “pass along” to a friend, or move to other areas of your garden. By mid spring creamy - white pendulous bell shaped flowers fill arching stems.

Eventually the flowers fade but the real show is in the foliage, just like our beloved Eucs!

The sturdy stems and variegated foliage will hold until a hard frost, but rest assured they won't disappoint like some of their higher priced peers, and will return next spring to start the show all over again!

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