I have grown alchemilla mollis (also known as lady’s mantle) in my garden for many years now. I have heard it described by others as a weed but although it might grow like one, this description does it a big disservice.
All photos by Toni Abram.
The plant has large apple green fan shaped leaves and masses of lime yellow flowers which up close look like tiny stars. Alchemilla mollis is great for ground cover, makes a beautiful back drop for other flowers, can be used as a front of border plant or used to under plant other plants. And when it rains, the leaves hold the droplets and they sparkle as if in a fairy wonderland.
Originally from Caucasus, the name alchemilla is related to the word alchemy. In the past the plant was believed to be magical plant – the water droplets that formed on the leaves were thought to be the purest form of water and that they might turn base metals into gold.
Herbalists prescribe it for a variety of conditions. Anti inflammatory and astringent, it has properties that are good for regulating menstruation and it is often used in late pregnancy to help strengthen the uterus, when it is usually prescribed as a tea made from the flowers.
Alchemilla mollis, thrives in sun or part shade, so it’s very versatile and useful around the garden.
For best results, grow in moist but well drained soil. Cut back hard after flowering and it should produce a second flush of flowers in late summer.
And one final word for anyone who still thinks this plant is a weed. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it the prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM). Given to help gardeners choose the best plants for their garden – it is their seal of of approval that a plant will perform reliably in your garden.