SOLOMON’S NEW SEALS

The latest introductions from Japan and China take the shade garden to another level.

by C. COLSTON BURRELL

A COLLECTOR’S PASSION is part fascination, part greed. This uncontrollable lust for the unique takes many forms. Some explore the world in search of horticultural treasures. I’m an armchair explorer, so I count on today’s intrepid plantsmen and -women to ferret out new plants to feather my nest. There is no shortage of fodder to fuel the fire. The spate of new introductions from China and Japan means that there is always something new to grow. Among the newcomers are a host of Solomon’s seals (Polygonatum) that goes the extra mile, with plants with whorled foliage, orange and pink flowers, red berries, gargantuan proportions, and blazing variegation.

Exceptional Cultivars

Polygonatum falcatum Silver Lining Strain

This naturally occurring variant has long narrow leaves with bold silver stripes down their centers. The upright, one- to three-inch stems arch gracefully above their midpoints. Plants are slow to reach mature size, but are worth the wait. Established clumps are spectacular. First introduced by Asiatica Nursery but now offered more widely. USDA Zones 4-9.

Polygonatum humlle

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