January 28, 2020

Hidden Treasure

Alchemilla mollis - Lady's mantle

Mark Uchneat Photo | Alchemilla mollis – Lady’s mantle

Sometimes the loveliest plants are the subtle ones that can be overlooked by other plants’ bright, showy blossoms. And that’s a pity, because you might never plant Alchemilla mollis, the elegantly exquisite lady’s mantle. From its velvety leaves to its chartreuse flowers, lady’s mantle can be just as dazzling as any passing flower, keeping interest all season long with the amazing leaves. The plant is hardy in all of Maine and can tolerate a fair amount of shade, giving it a good range for whatever garden you need it in. It gets most of its 12 to 18 inches of height from the clusters of tiny blossoms, although established plants can mound well. Unlike most plants, lady’s mantle looks great in the rain, with the raindrops beading on the leaves and sparkling even on a gray day. And it is from this characteristic that it gets its botanical name, Alchemilla. According to Wikipedia, “These beads of water were considered by alchemists to be the purest form of water. They utilised this water in their quest to turn base metal into gold.” It just turns out lady’s mantle is a treasure in a different way.

Photographed by Mark Uchneat.