Sometimes called Solomon's seal, this is a lovely woodland plant, at home in English gardens but seemingly quite adaptable to many Sydney gardens too. It comes from Europe and temperate Asia, and is classified as belonging to the family Asparagaceae. Polygonatum x hybridum is a cross between Polygonatum multiflorum and Polygonatum odoratum.
It is a rhizomatous perennial and completely herbaceous, dying down in autumn. It reappears around October, at first visible as a small snout at soil level, soon elongating into elegant arched stems clothed in foliage and hung with dainty greenish white bells (ht 60 - 80cm). There is a beautiful variegated-leaf form called 'Variegatum', which has creamy white edges to its foliage.
Solomon's seal prefers to grow in a cool, shaded spot (even full shade), in good soil with reasonable moisture; however, it seems to also grow in less hospitable sites, and copes quite well with the competition of tree roots, especially if some organic matter is incorporated into the soil when planting. It can be quite vigorous and eventually, thick clumps will form from the fleshy rootstock, which can be divided by removing some crowded sections and leaving the rest behind. Give them some compost after flowering.
They look pretty growing amongst ferns, Hosta, Iris japonica or hellebores (which will still have greenish, aged flowers on them when the Solomon's seal appears). I also grow them beneath Hydrangea and Camellia to add interest in the late spring period. Cut stems are useful in a vase.