I am particularly fond of the ‘Solomon’s Seal’ family of plants , the Polygonatums and the Disporums . These shade lovers are very easy to grow, and like a woodsy soil that is not super dry.
This year, we are offering some very rare forms of these plants. Each has been covetted in Japan for decades, and they have finally made it to our shores. In Japan, there are small specialist nurseries that collect and sell/trade variegated forms of all kinds of plants. Some are priced at thousands of dollars as they may be the only one in the world of their type.
Our offerings are divisions of divisions of divisions of divisions. The price has come down as the quantities increase. We feel lucky to offer them, but we have less than a dozen of each variety.
We always sell the ‘normal’ Solomon’s Seal , Polygonatum x odoratum and its striped/variegated forms. This year we have a very showy, rare form called ‘Fireworks’. I guess it got the name because it really glows in the shade garden with its tie-dyed white and green leaves. Another kooky Solomon’s Seal we have is called ‘Dragon’s Scale’. This rarity has unusually shiny and thick leaves with a distinct ridge down the centre of each leaf. The foliage is a darker green than the other types. I planted three of these last year , and am amazed at how big they have gotten in only one season. Each has about nine stalks emerging from the ground !
A very large-growing Disporum is D. cantoniense ‘Night Heron’ . This hardy perennial was introduced by our good friend Dan Hinkley while he still operated Heronswood Nursery in Kingston, Washington. He grew it from wild collected seed from China, and expected a green plant, not this stunning blackish-purple variant. WOW! My plant in my old garden was 5′ high and looked like a shiny bamboo that flowered with little yellow/green bells ! It likes moist soil and some shade. The newly emerging shoots in spring look like giant plum- coloured asparagus. A great ‘beginners plant’ as it is soooo easy and undemanding to grow, yet rarely seen and absolutely stunning ! It is also very affordable as it has now been propagated quite a bit.
Polygonatum ‘Fireworks’ Polygonatum ‘Dragon’s Scale’ Disporum ‘Golden Emperor’ Disporum ‘Golden Moon’
Disporums look a lot like Solomon’s Seal and are closely related. We have at least 5 special types to tempt knowledgable gardeners this year. Disporum sessile ‘Island Moon’ is a treasure !! Brilliant lemon yellow leaves are edged in green . Eventually a clump, this Japanese native will reach 45cm in height and is winter hardy to zone 4. Disporum smilacinum ‘Golden Moon’ is just as lovely , with broader leaves and a bit more green striping in its leaves. This little cutie will only reach 10-15cm in height and form a small colony in time. Disporum smilacinum ‘Golden Emperor’ has the reverse leaf pattern of ‘Golden Moon’ . This selection has apple-green leaves with creamy yellow edges and stripes. All of these treasures are priced around 25.00-30.00 each….. about the same as a night at the movies.