by Jane Lake
Lady’s Mantle is an easy keeper in the perennial or herb garden and much treasured for its shapely, pale green, serrated leaves, which collect and hold droplets of dew or rain like glistening jewels.
There are two varieties, both of which are clump-forming perennials with finely-haired, scalloped and serrated leaves, bearing pretty froths of small yellowish-green flowers in summer. Both leaves and flowers are lovely in floral arrangements.
Alchemilla alpina, or mountain mantle, is the smaller variety at six to eight inches tall, with two inch long leaves. Well-suited for rockeries or container planting, this Lady’s Mantle is cold-hardy but suffers in intense heat. Zones 3-7.
Alchemilla mollis, often found in sunny perennial beds or thriving in dappled shade gardens, has leaves between four and six inches long, growing in a mound about 12 to 18 inches high. The leaves are softly hairy with deep folds, a combination which encourages the beading of raindrops upon the upper surface of the leaves. The small branching sprays of yellowish-green flowers appear in late spring and usually last well into summer. Zones 3-8.
How to Grow
Lady’s Mantle will grow in any moist but well-drained garden soil, in sun or light shade. It is easily raised from seed and may, in fact, readily self-seed, leading to an unexpected increase in these pretty plants. Share them with friends or pot them up for a plant swap, or just move the volunteers to a suitable spot in your garden. If you’re simply getting too many Lady’s Mantle seedlings, cut spent flowers ahead of any seed production.
If mature plants become too large and unwieldy, divide the clumps in spring or autumn. After flowering, when the flowers and foliage become untidy, you may cut the plants back to just above the ground, covering with mulch in the fall.
The British Royal Horticultural Society has awarded Lady’s Mantle an Award of Garden Merit, meaning that the plant has undergone substantial trials and has been found easy to care for, not prone to pest or disease, and of outstanding excellence for garden decoration or use.
Suggested placement includes the front of herbaceous borders, along a wall or walkway, or as ground cover on banks and slopes. Lady’s Mantle also looks good as an underplanting for roses and other shrubs, beside a pond, or in the wildflower garden.
Tea made from dried Lady’s Mantle leaves is a traditional treatment for mild diarrhea, water retention, sore throats and menstrual cramps. Alchemilla has also been applied directly to stop bleeding, aid wound healing or ease skin rash irritation.
For more information:
Lady’s Mantle Tea: Health Benefits and Medicinal Uses – using Lady’s Mantle for weight loss, cough remedy, or as a potent source of antioxidants.
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