This one is made for shade and made to share

Whereas each plant in our garden feels special to me, I cannot stop myself from raving about the Variegated Solomon’s Seal, one of the perennials I got on impulse a while back with little knowledge about it; to my delight, what started as a mere one-stem plantlet, is now a spectacular patch, huge in size, with way too many plants in it for me to count! I think I have lucked out because as they say – location, location, location –  which was one thing I happened to do right, for even though we have limited shaded areas,

I tried to follow the light requirement recommendation.

Though not as widely used as hostas, Solomon’s seal, especially the variegated one, Polygonatum odoratum “Variegatum”  is truly a treasure to have in a shade garden. It belongs to the lily family although plants multiply by creeping underground rhizomes; in early spring, the sleeping rhizomes break dormancy by sending tubular shoots above the ground which, funny enough, look like asparagus spears to me. Soon to follow are lovely arching branches bearing light green leaves with yellowish-white variegations. The combination seems to glow in the dark!

The show, however, does not stop here. As the season progresses, small but dainty bell-shaped white flowers, which are mildly fragrant, are seen singly or in pairs, dangling along the points where the leaves are attached to the branches; it indeed is quite a sight.

So pretty is the foliage, with or without flowers, that just a few branches are enough to complement a flower arrangement; in fact, whenever I have the need to perk a nook or a cranny inside our home, I know I can depend upon Solomon’s seal a good part of the year, by itself or along with anything else I can find in the garden.   

Clumps can become fairly large over the course of time; ours has not only highlighted an obscure corner of the front yard but the rhizomes have crawled under the adjacent fence to a nearby area. However, I don’t find this behavior intimidating because plants do not have a tendency to become invasive.

In spring, portions of a clump can be dug either for planting elsewhere or to share with others who enjoy gardening, too. So, every year, I eagerly invite friends to come over and help themselves to as many divisions as they can use. After all, sharing is fun plus allows us to enjoy a wider variety of plants in the garden; and believe me, shared plants invariably fare well.


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