Alchemilla Mollis 'Auslese' - Ladys Mantle - September 2022

 This is the second new (to us) perennial that we recently planted that came from Roy Diblik's Northwind Perennial Farm.  I'll admit that I made one of the core gardening mistakes (don't buy just one of anything) with both of these recent additions, but these were picked out from the shade section by my middle child.  This post is about Alchemilla mollis 'Auslese' - or Ladys Mantle.  The sign at Northwind is below and points out that this works in part shade, has yellow flowers and spreads out to about 20".  It also calls out the scalloped, grey-green foliage.

And, here below, is our pint-sized plant.  Of note, after just a few days home, I've come to realize that this thing needs to be watered regularly.  


So, what, exactly is this?  Is it like a Heuchera?  Is it ground cover?  (If so, it would count towards my 2022 to-do list goal around groundcover, right?)

The University of Wisconsin Horticulture Extension has a page up about Lady's Mantle where you can learn more about this plant including that it is 'old-fashioned'.  From their page:
Lady’s mantle, Alchemilla mollis, is an old-fashioned, tough and adaptable European garden perennial grown for both its interesting foliage and frothy sprays of flowers.

...The dense hairs on the leaves catch and hold water droplets, so are very attractive after a rain or in the morning when drops of dew collect on the textured leaves like a sprinkling of diamonds or beads of liquid mercury. These beads of water were considered by alchemists to be the purest form of water, and they used this water when attempting to turn base metal into gold – hence the name “Alchemilla”.

...It is not drought tolerant and should be watered when soil moisture is lacking. The foliage will turn completely brown over the winter and new leaves appear in spring. It is best to shear the old leaves from the crowns in early spring before new growth starts.
The Chicago Botanic Garden has a page up about the plant and talks about how it needs a couple years to get established, then it can handle drier conditions.  Noted in the [garden diary] that this needs to be babied for 2023 and then (hopefully) be ignored starting in 2024.  

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