Today is so hot. The date is only May 28 and the thermometer says 91 degrees F. Our spring was late to arrive and now the heat has come. There is much to do in the garden, but I am wilted. So I am taking a break and writing instead.
To help me cool down let’s talk about a shade plant that is good for the bees. It happens to look great in my garden now. Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum) is elegant and a problem solver for the gardener in Zones 3-8.
The green stalks of Solomon’s Seal gently arch over, supporting its pendulous flowers that appear in May. Once the flowers pass, the plant still looks great. There are several varieties of Solomon’s Seal. Though I tend to think of them as the plain green version or the variegated version. I love Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’; it looks like someone painted each leaf with streaks of cream. This beauty complements other solid colored plants so well. Though I wouldn’t put it next to another variegated plant–too much visual noise.
Solomon’s Seal does well in mostly shade (with a few hours of sun) to full shade. And it will tolerate dry shade. Which means you can plant it under a tree and it will probably do well.
Solomon’s Seal spreads slowly by its rhizomes and fills in an area nicely. Consider it a ground cover. It is a native plant, so you know it will do well and you don’t have to worry about it becoming invasive.
I like the height of Solomon’s Seal too. At about 2 feet tall, it can cover some ugliness (concrete house foundations is one example) and it is generally taller than some other shade ground covers, providing more visual interest. You avoid that “flat look” that you might get with some other ground covers (Pachysandra I am looking at you).
Solomon’s Seal won’t provide lots of nectar for the bees, like some other flowers will. But it gives the bees a snack and it makes for a great garden.
Photo credit:Copyright: lianem / 123RF Stock Photo