This is the start of regular feature I’ve been planning to start for about two years now. Plants to Know a quick growing guide for plants that you should, well, know about (clever, right?).
In each Plants to Know feature, I’ll share a plant with you, a bit about growing it and the basic facts, including the TIG classfication, my personal plant categorization system.
I can’t think of a better plant to start with than one I’ve mentioned several times on this blog and is always on the top of my must-have plant list: Alchemilla mollis aka lady’s mantle.
Lady’s mantle is primarily grown for its foliage, which is instantly recognizable. Thick round leaves with scalloped edges are a bright emerald green and have the charming quality of collecting raindrops and dew.
But I grow lady’s mantle just as much for its chartreuse flowers which are about the most perfect bouquet filler ever. It blooms in big tufts in late spring or early summer and the flowers last for several weeks before turning brown. Any that are left at this point get cut back in big handfuls.
Later in summer, the leaves can get a little tired looking and any particularly offensive foliage can be cut back. In fact, the entire plant can be cut back and fresh growth will quickly follow.
Cut it back at the end of the season or in spring. It grows relatively quickly, so you can allow large clumps to form or divide at will. In fact, I’ve divided it at all times of the growing season and this hardy bugger doesn’t seem to mind a bit. It will also reseed, but not aggressively, so small plants can be moved around wherever needed or shared with friends.
And that is one this plant’s big charms. It’s unlikely you’ll have to buy this plant, although you shouldn’t have a hard time finding it if you want to. Most gardeners will be happy to share this gem.
I think of lady’s mantle as an excellent border plant, but it’s also lovely in big clumps and as an underplanting for many trees. It provides a much-needed resting point in the garden without lacking interest. And the chartreuse flowers go well with literally every other color in the garden. It’s happy to play the best friend role to any number of plant starlets.
It’ll be happy in full sun down to quite a bit of shade, but it won’t thrive in very dry spots.
Any plant with so many wonderful attributes surely deserves one of my favorite plant classifications: Workhouse.
Do you grow lady’s mantle?