LADY'S MANTLE Alchemilla mollis

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Alchemilla mollis, the garden lady's-mantle or lady's-mantle, is a herbaceous perennial plant native to southern Europe and grown throughout the world as an ornamental garden plant. It grows 30 to 45 cm (12 to 18 in) tall, with leaves that are palmately veined, with a scalloped and serrated margin. The extremely bright chartreuse yellow flowers are held in dense clusters above the foliage. This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit!

The plant is often grown as a ground cover, and is especially valued for the leaves collect water beads, which sparkles on the leaves. This is due to the remarkable dewetting properties of the leaves, whereby the contact force between the water and the leaf is so disfavoured that a thin layer of air penetrates the solid-liquid interface. 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. Hence the name Alchemilla.

Type: Hardy perennial

Hardiness zones: 3-9

Height: 20", 50cm

Location: Shade or part shade. Will grow in sun in cool-summer areas.

Seeds per pack: 20

Germination: As with many perennial seeds, these can benefit from a period of moist cold to help them grow. This is done by giving them a cold 'winter' period (artificial or natural), and then a warming to simulate 'spring', and time to grow! Here's how this can be done:

Obtain a planting container that has holes in the bottom for excess water to drain. Place the seeds on the surface of your growing medium (do not bury them), and water. Place your container in a cold area (but not freezing, perhaps a refrigerator) for 4 weeks. Once the cold period is completed, place the container at room temperature for them to germinate. Be sure to keep the soil moist during this entire germination period. Seedlings will sprout a few weeks, or occasionally several months, after the warming period.

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