Saturday, March 31, 2012

Three In A Dozen For Diana

I am joining Diana of Elephant's Eye in choosing twelve months of my favorite garden plants. In this month of March, I am all about green. Each Spring, I look forward to the fresh, crinkly leaves of Lady's Mantle, Alchemilla Mollis. Lady's Mantle is native to Europe but has become traditional in many American gardens. I cannot imagine a garden without the ruffled skirt of Lady's Mantle edging its borders and so must include it in my dozen for Diana.

Lady’s Mantle, a perennial herb belonging to the Rose family, has a long history of curative and magical powers. I mostly admire Lady's Mantle for its leaves and the way they catch the rain and dew. Apparently so have many others before me. Throughout history, these dainty drops adorning the leaves of Lady's Mantle were considered mystical and constituted the part of many potions. Considered by alchemists to be the purest form of water, they used them in their quest to turn base metal into gold – hence the name "Alchemilla". (The generic name Alchemilla is derived from the Arabic word, Alkemelych – alchemy.)  In earlier times, it was also believed the dew that collected on the leaves was thought to preserve a lady’s complexion and took on extra magical powers if collected by the light of a full moon. Lady's Mantle also been used in traditional medicine as an astringent tonic for skin conditions, as a tea in the treatment of menstrual and digestive problems, and to dress wounds so that they may heal faster.

Lady's Mantle is said to be named after the Virgin Mary's cloak because the lobes of the leaves were thought to resemble the scalloped edges of a mantle. Its tiny chartreuse to yellow flowers dance above its frilly foliage like lace. Lady's Mantle prefers to grow in partial shade. Mine grows in sun as well, in moist soil, but I am in a cooler zone. Aside from an elegant edging, it also makes a graceful groundcover.

To read about my previous choices for a dozen for Diana, click below.
January: Sunflowers
February: Wild Roses

Hmmm, if I scratch myself training the wild roses, I could try applying some Lady's Mantle to my scrapes!

Sources: BotanicalGlobal Garden, Live and Feel


  1. Great plant to the way the rain pools in the leaves, but then just the texture and shape of the leaves is reason enough...fascinating about this to learn how it was used.

  2. Magickal leaves with a necklace of dewdrops. Never made the connection between Alchemilla and alchemy.

  3. Loved all this information on Lady's Mantle! And that picture with the drops around the leaves is fascinating. I don't think this grows in my zone, but I'm going to research it. Love that foliage!

  4. I love Lady's mantle as well. If you cut it back in mid-summer, when it gets all scraggly, you will get a second bloom

  5. Hi Kathy, I am also totally in love with Lady's Mantle and many years ago grew it briefly in the garden. It looks so magical with drops of water and you have captured this perfectly with the camera. Especially the Necklace of Dewdrops. All that mystical alchemy stuff fascinating.


Thank you for joining me in my garden in the making!

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