Alchemilla mollis

If I could have only one plant in my garden, it would be Alchemilla mollis, or lady’s mantle. In sun or shade, in town or country, by castle or cottage, in chalk or leafmould, softening the edges of paving, underplanting roses, reflected in a pond, alchemilla always looks in harmony with her surroundings. This plant is sometimes listed as A. vulgaris.

A hardy perennial, the plant is graceful in leaf and flowers over a long season. For at least two months from early summer onward, feathery clusters of tiny, yellow-green flowers rise from clumps of decorative palmate leaves, each with a hollow in the centre which catches and holds drops of ram or dew. If the plant is sheared over after flowering, new leaves will follow, and perhaps a few late flowers. Alchemilla looks well planted in groups of three, five, seven plants or more, 18 inches (45 cm) apart which will soon grow into tough, weed-suppressing clumps, which are best divided every few years. The flowers seed almost too freely, and unwanted seedlings should be picked out when small.

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