Garden Tales: Solomon's Seal
The Lily of the Valley, Convallaria majalis, grew all along the back fence in my home. My father’s compost heap was nearby and the three maple trees created a forest like effect. In Thunder Bay, the lilies of the valley ran all along the side of the house and I picked the flowers regularly for our table during the season. They needed little help to spread.
A relative of the Lily of the Valley, is Solomon’s Seal, Polygonatum, as well as being a relative the flowers resemble the flowers of the Lily of the Valley.
The flowers are not this plant's only attractive feature, the branches of Solomon’s Seal arch and lend an air of grace to the garden. The white flowers are bell-shaped and maybe tipped with green or yellow.
Solomon’s seal rings in spring and will bring a bit of early colour to the garden. This plant is also an excellent addition to a shade garden but it does spread. It is also an ideal plant if you are seeking to recreate a woodland environment in your yard.
The plant was given is common name due to a mark which is located near where the stem emerges from the rhizome. Some say that this mark resembles two interlocked triangles, or, the 'Star of David' and the symbol of Solomon.
Solomon’s Seal is relatively easy to grow as long as you palce it in a rich organic soil and make sure that it gets enough water but not too much. Mulch the area around the plant with leaf mould and you will be pleased with the results. The use of leaf mould helps duplicate the conditions found on the forest floor where this one grows in the wild.
Leaf mould can be made by collecting the autumn leaves in a green garbage bag, adding a little soil, tying off and setting aside in garage, for example, until spring. If you want punch a few small holes in the bags. In the spring, sprinkle this mulch around the plant. This is good organic material.
Solomon’s Seal, like the Lily of the Valley can be rather aggressive in its spread so be careful where you place it. It is best used in a woodland setting.
The powdered roots have been sues to produce a poultice for bruises, piles, inflammations and tumours. However, I would grow it for the early colour in the shade or to help create a woodland environment.
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