Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Solomon's Seal

I have grown Solomon's Seal in three of the four homes that I have owned.  In one of my homes, I had a woodland garden, really a woodland because behind my house had once run a creek that over 100 years ago people came from the city of Chicago to their summer homes.  My house was never a summer home (built after the turn of the century) but my neighbor's home was.  People came by horseback, buggy and the early automobile.  So, you can see why my backyard was a small area of shade grass, farm lilacs, woodland plants on the side and all across the back.

I grew up in Chicago, so I had no idea what I was looking at.  I met the neighbor who lived in a summer home property (not a cottage but quite large) who would come over and rattle off every Latin name of all the plants in my yard.  I immediately went out and bought a wild plant identification book.  I found out several years later that this plant savvy neighbor of mine had a PhD. in Botany - didn't want to intimidate me!

I had a homemade woodland in the previous home to one I am in now.  With a large property I was able to plant a sprawling shade garden but never a "real" woodland like what I had.  Now, I am really limited,to that small long strip along the north side of my house, but I still have my one last woodland plant Polyonatum Variegatum (variegated Solomon's Seal).  The woodland Solomon's Seal was not variegated but plain green'

Solomon's Seal is a medicinal herb with diverse healing properties.  It can be used as a herbal tincture, salve, tea or supplement.  It is a beautiful arching plant with small white to pale yellowish green flowers, blooming April to midsummer.  It will take partial shade to sun if there is sufficient moisture.  It looks great with hosta, ferns and astilbe.

Childrens Book Review:  is there a monster over there? 


Anonymous said...

Dear Eileen, Today you have featured one of my favourite plants, Solomon's Seal, especially the variegated form which really is so very pretty.

Although I was previously under the impression that they required damp conditions, I have found that they seem to flourish in any reasonably good garden soil. In one house, many years ago, Solomon's Seal established a large colony at the foot of a box hedge.

I wonder if you miss your woodland garden?

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Yes, I do miss the woodland garden. I don't think I appreciated how carefree it was when I was a beginning gardener.


Dave said...

We have some of the variegated Solomon's Seal and I really like it. It's in a shady corner with hostas and heucheras.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Dave,

I like the variegated ones better also. I have to divide them this year, hope I don't kill a few off, they seem fragile.


Hocking Hills Gardener said...

I just love this shot of your garden path. It shows that a shady spot can be really beautiful. The variegated leaves look right at home with the ferns.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Lona,

There are so many shade plants I would love to have, but it is so packed right now, I'm afraid the path would disappear.


LC said...

Hi Eileen... I've divided the variegated solomon's seal a hundred times and never lost a single one... actually I just remove whatever I want to put elsewhere, leaving the main clump. I think the most important thing is to move them in spring, when they still have that pink look and the shoots are maybe 3-4" tall... at least that has worked very well for me. What is the grass to the left side of the photo of the walkway? I've just been checking out my hellebores... removing matted dropped magnolia leaves etc... I think it's going to be a great year! I believe I'll be able to consider many of them as established plants finally. I'm very excited to see that one of my clones purchases will probably bloom for the first time this year as well! Larry

garden girl said...

They are really lovely plants. I added false Solomon's seal to our garden last season - hope they come back. Solomon's seal is on my list too - especially the variegated ones.

Deborah at Kilbourne Grove said...

Love the variegated Solomons Seal, I just have the plain gree, but have quite a weakness for variegation.

allanbecker-gardenguru said...

Solomon's Seal is very elegant. I am quite brutal with this plant because it becomes a vigorous spreader in my garden, if I don't divide it regularly. However, I haven't been able to kill it, even though I've tried. It's like a cat with nine lives.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

L.C. thanks for the hint when dividing. The grass is Carex Ice Fountains. I wrote about it in the blog entry Glorious Grasses.

Allan, it is not spreading very much on my north side. Do you also have the variegated?

Garden Girl, I think the variegated one is so stunning in a shady area but, supposedly, it will grow in the sun also.

joey said...

A woodland garden is my favorite, Eileen. At the lake, I'm surrounded by naturalized Soloman's Seal. Here at in my home garden, like you, I have Polyonatum Variegatum (variegated Solomon's Seal. I love it, don't you! (Can we ever have enough room to grow all that we love!)

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I love Solomon's Seal. Mine is just starting to sprout and I can't wait to see those cute little flowers.