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Lady's Mantle

Alchemilla mollis is a lovely traditional English Garden perennial. It is usually known by its common name - Lady’s Mantle. Other interesting names include Lion's Foot or Bear's Foot. In the sixteenth century, it was called Our Lady’s Mantle - the Lady in question being the Virgin Mary. People thought that the lobes of the leaves were very similar to the scalloped edges of the mantle or cloak that the Virgin Mary wore. As time went on, the name was shortened to Lady’s Mantle.

The flowers appear from June to September as clusters of little yellow blooms and the soft grey blue-green, lobed leaves look like velvet.

The best feature of this plant is that these leaves are covered in fine hairs. After a heavy dew or rain, little drops of sparkling water hang on its leaves. Children love to play with the leaves for this reason, rolling the little water droplets back and forth. This also gave rise to the nickname Dewcup.

Lady's Mantle is a very easy English garden perennial to grow. It prefers a sunny spot in well-drained soil, although it also does fine in partial shade. If you have really hot summers then give it a bit of shade from the afternoon sun.

It will grow to approximately two feet, but the stems usually flop over onto the ground, making it more of a ground cover rather than a tall plant.

It happily self-seeds (some would say invasively!) but the little plants can be dug up and replanted or given away, as long as they are quickly watered in at their new home. Do this in early spring as the plants start to emerge.

Use as ground cover or under roses or other shrubs. Or as a useful filler in borders and beds. It looks good planted en masse or used as edging for wider paths. Grow it amongst deep blue and white perennials for best effect or try it with the purple flowers of chives. For dramatic contrast and texture - grow it next to a large leaved grey blue Hosta. Or you can use it in an all yellow garden bed.

The little yellow flowers last well in water and combine well with a variety of cut flowers. The flowers can also be cut and dried for autumn arrangements.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Carol Chernega. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Carol Chernega. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Carol Chernega for details.



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