About Good Scents

The cut flower business ended in 2011 but I continue to post other items about gardening.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Alchemilla (Lady's Mantle)

Alchemilla mollis is a plant usually grown for its attractive leaves. The grayish-green, fuzzy leaves are sharply pleated, hence the common name Lady's Mantle. The pleats and the fuzz cause dew and rain drops to bead up on the leaves in a way that is very beautiful and delightful if you've learned to appreciate the subtle pleasures of foilage in the garden. They grow very well in partial shade but will tolerate full sun and are often used as an edging in a perennial border.

Alchemilla mollis foliage

In additon to the pretty leaves, Alchemilla produces flowers, though I never appreciated them much until I started growing cut flowers. The chartreuse flowers are tiny but produced in panticles that are 6-8 inches long on stems up to a foot long. The overall effect in the landscape or a vase is a "foamy" filler, kind of like baby's breath only less trite and with a more interesting color. They bloom in the first couple weeks of June and the flowers are green enough to blend with pretty much anything.

Alchemilla mollis flowers

They arrive at the same time as the big, flashy early summer flowers like peonies and delphiniums and provide a needed gentle balance to them.

Chartreuse Alchemilla accents peonies, bell flowers, salvia and rose

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