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    Save the Date: Perennial Plant Society’s 30th Plant Sale is April 4, 2020, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the new Expo 3 Building at The Fairgrounds Nashville. Here’s where you can find the newest varieties of perennials, shrubs, vines and annuals from local growers, along with long-time, never-fail favorites, ready for spring planting. Learn more at the PPS website.

     

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Solomon’s seal glows in a woodland garden

What should I do with Solomon’s seal in the fall. Is it better to cut it back? Or just leave it?

solomon's seal

Solomon’s seal blooms in spring, and its leaves and stems turn golden in the fall.

One nice thing about Solomon’s seal (besides its preference to grow and bloom in shade) is how little maintenance it requires in the garden. It comes up in the spring and opens its white, bell-shaped flowers early in the season, provides soft green foliage all summer, then its leaves and stems turn a glowing yellow in the fall before the plant dies back to the ground. Why not just leave it and enjoy it?

Solomon’s seal’s graceful, arching stems and broad leaves are a nice addition to a woodland garden, growing happily alongside ferns, astilbe, hosta, hellebore and other plants that thrive in semi-shade conditions. It grows best in loose, fertile soil that receives regular watering, and spreads slowly by rhizomes. If you have a thick clump of Solomon’s seal, dig and divide the rhizomes and replant them in other areas or share them with gardening friends.

Divide Solomon’s seal

I have a patch of variegated Solomon’s seal in a shady garden bed that needs to be divided. When is the best time to do that?

Solomons sealFall is the best time to divide Solomon’s seal. Dig up a clump and divide the rhizomes with a knife, then replant in moist, fertile soil amended with plenty of organic matter – that’s what it enjoys in a woodland setting, where it thrives.

This is a plant that stands out in a shady setting. In spring, it produces graceful stems and large leaves that last until frost; the variegated variety (Polygonatum odoratum var. thunbergii) has white margins on the leaves. In spring, small white flowers dangle from the stems, and if you stand close, you may catch a whiff of the delicate fragrance. Dark berries form after the flowers fade. Make note, though, that all parts of the plant are poisonous

To grow well, Solomon’s seal needs a little sun but grows best in partial shade. It also needs consistent moisture. It is said to be resistant to deer.

Book giveaway winner!

Outwitting scanThe Garden Bench held a book giveaway a couple of weeks ago for the new edition of a book by Bill Adler, Outwitting Squirrels: 101 Cunning Stratagems to Reduce Dramatically the Egregious Misappropriation of Seed from Your Birdfeeder by Squirrels. The book is a laugh-out-loud funny look at what many bird-lovers consider a serious problem. There’s good information for gardeners whose efforts are frustrated by squirrels, too. Check out the details of the book here.

And the winner is: Heather S. of Port Townsend, WA. Congrats!

Watch for another book giveaway at The Garden Bench in a few weeks.

May Garden Calendar: The May Garden Calendar and Garden tips and tasks suggest many ways to get out and enjoy spring in the garden. Check it out at Tennessean.com.