Saturday, December 01, 2007


Maybe it's the weather today; it is sleeting now with a raw wind that is starting to howl and gust, with freezing rain forecast for this afternoon... at any rate, I feel a snippy comment coming on about one of the plants in our garden: Disporopsis arisanensis never does anything. I should be grateful that it's even here, as it's from Taiwan and is rated as zone 7 by most (though I see where Bob at Arrowhead Alpines grows it outdoors, and I suppose he is zone 6). It is almost evergreen here; the above picture was taken yesterday... most years it looks fine until maybe January, then if it's not covered with some leaves, it gets partly crisped when the temperatures get down close to zero.
So far, so good... an almost evergreen plant (sometimes called an evergreen Solomon's seal) from subtropical China that survives in Iowa, with leaves that are thick and neat looking, and the plant slowly spreads but stays as a clump. My nit-picky complaint is that this plant seems too static: it just never changes, in a garden in Iowa where change is the name of the game. Those who dislike rapid changes in weather, seasons, and gardens would be well-advised to not spend more than a few hours here (effete east-coasters would tell you there are plenty of other reasons not to spend time in Iowa, but they've never sat in their garden without a sign in any direction of other people, watching flock after flock of ring-billed gulls flying overhead, so snow-white against the deep cobalt sky of late evening, that they seem lit from within).
Disporopsis arisanensis does bloom in spring, with small cream and green bells, but somehow I usually miss the blooms; they are definitely small, and rather hidden by the foliage. The plant does grow, but it does so very slowly and I kind of miss that too... maybe it does all this when my back is turned. For all I know, when I'm not around this plant runs around with a lampshade on its head, acting the fool, but let's just say if I have a plant party, it's not invited.
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Well..., if that's how you feel about the plant, I have no comment.
But, you sound grumpy and mean toward it._ that's my opinion. also.:-)
It must be the weather. You hate to be indoors.
You're right... I am NOT an indoor person.
Arrowhead Alpines is in zone five. Does he really grow it out of doors? Wow.

The zone five in that area of Michigan is with intermittent, unreliable snow cover. He must mulch it.
Hi Don;

Have you tried Polygonatum humile? It's a dwarf Soloman's Seal, maybe 8" tall here, spreads slowly, easy to divide and grow on, w/obvious flowers.Maybe four years ago I found it at Hidden Gardens in Searsport, Maine on one of my Downeast garden adventures. That was quite a place in the middle of nowhere. The owners did something like 60,000 small pots of perennials a year.The tag said Korean Soloman Seal but I think it was humile.

George Africa
George... I've got humile... BOY do I have humile (it's everywhere). It's not really a rapid grower, as you mention, but somehow pops up everywhere (ants?). I've seen it called both dwarf Japanese and dwarf Korean Solomon's seal (it's native to both). It's still a nice little plant.
Jenn... he says he grows it outside now (used to have it in a polyhouse). Of course, I'm 5a, and I grow it outside (he must be 5b?).
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