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Little Magical One

My love for Lady’s Mantle, the alchemists herb, knows no bounds. It is coming into its prime right now and reminds just how much I rely on it. It is a great foil to so many plants, always playing second fiddle: without it, flowers like Geranium ‘Brookside’ and Hydrangea 'Annabelle’ would be so much less impressive without their frothy counterpart.

The apply green, scalloped leaves, with finely serrated edges, persist all season catching raindrops and holding it like watery pearls. This is source of its name, Alchemilla mollis, from Arabic, meaning little magical one as, in the middle ages, the water collected from its leaves after a morning dew was said to have healing properties

The foam of chartreuse yellow flowers that appear in June and continue through to the end of the

summer provide great ground cover and look wonderful planted en-masse, spilling out over path edges. Use them to soften formal schemes, straight-edged borders, or plant in difficult areas such as dry shade or heavy clay.

Once established these plants are tough and drought tolerant. They can be a bit thuggish, self-seeding quite freely, but I love them for that. And once their best is over at the end of August cut back the faded flower heads and leaves - you may be rewarded with a second flush of flowers.

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