Alchemilla mollis ‘Irish Silk’
IRISH SILK LADY’S MANTLE
Alchemilla mollis ‘Irish Silk’ is a selected form of the classic groundcover Lady’s Mantle.
Frothy lime heads of Irish silk
‘Irish Silk’ produces frothy lime heads to 45cm. over a neat and pretty foliage clump.
And these foaming bunches of tiny blooms make superb cut flowers of commercial quality.
So florists equate Alchemilla with statice and gyp baby’s breath, as the finest of fillers for a vase.
Leaves are cupped and fringed, so they capture dewdrops like spangles on a lace collar.
Alchemilla mollis ‘Irish Silk’ is a compact neat grower with delightful leaves.
Though she stands proudly higher than many other forms of Lady’s Mantle, so there is more of the lovely foliage to love.
Carpet for shade
Alchemilla mollis prefers some afternoon shade in all but the coolest climate.
Although it is surprisingly resistant if well mulched with organic matter.
Positions with Part Shade, Dappled Light under trees and shrubs or taller flowers, or Morning Sun are absolutely perfect.
Robustly hardy in frost and clay
Alchemilla mollis is robustly frost hardy.
And it absolutely relishes clay or heavy soil, particularly if it is opened up with some organic matter.
SEED SOWING ADVICE: EASY
Scatter seed directly in garden from late winter to spring/ or sow indoors at any time.
INDOORS: First sow the seeds in a punnet on surface of good quality seed raising mix.
Then gently pat the seeds onto the surface and only barely cover the seeds with sieved mix/fine sand/vermiculite.
Now thoroughly moisten the mix by standing the punnet in a shallow water bath and allowing the moisture to percolate up to the surface of the mix from below.
Drain and stand the moist, sown punnet in a warm, well-lit position (not in direct sunlight).
Cover with a plastic cover, or place in a plastic bag to retain moisture.
Temperatures of 18-22°C are ideal for rapid and optimum germination.
Continue to keep punnet moist by misting surface from a spray water bottle as required.
Keep the punnet moist in a warm, well-lit place for 2-4 weeks.
Then cling-wrap the moist punnet / or place in a plastic bag.
And place it in the fridge (not freezer) for 4-6 weeks.
These seeds germinate more readily if they have a period of chilling.
Finally remove punnet from fridge, unwrap, and keep in a cooler, well-lit position at approx. 12°C.
Seedlings emerge in approx. 21-30 days.
SOW SEEDS DIRECT IN THE GARDEN: Or sow seeds directly in garden in autumn/winter and leave to get the required chilling over winter before germinating naturally in the spring.
SEED COUNT: 250 seeds per pack approx.
(We always aim to exceed the stated seed count, and give a generous serve).
GROWING: Alchemilla mollis ‘Irish Silk’
– Height with flowers: 50cm approx.
– Width: 30cm – 40cm approx.
– Position: Partial Shade and Woodland conditions. But it will tolerate Full Sun id well mulched, though the lovely foliage may scorch in particularly hot areas.
– Soil: Adapts to a wide range of soils, and even tolerates clay happily
– Frost: Hardy, and remains evergreen even in hard frosts.
– Growth: Evergreen perennial. Hardy groundcover.
Easy care & loved by wildlife
– Bees & birds: Good source of pollen and nectar to bees, pollinators and butterflies. Beneficial over a long period because of such a long blooming season.
– Beware: Not recommended today for use as a herbal medicine, even though it has a long history of such use.
– Care: Very low maintenance. The only work you may wish to do is a chop back after flowering has finished.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: Not attractive to rabbits and deer.
– Origin: Hardy native ground-cover widely distributed in southern Europe – so a very hardy and adaptable plant.
Myths & Legends
Charming Lady’s Mantle, adorned with dew drops has always drawn attention.
Thus it has acquired a flock of romantic tales over the centuries.
In medieval times it was believed if you could gather the dew drops without breaking them – they would turn into diamonds – wishful thinking.
While the Alchemists were busy trying to turn them into base metal gold by magic – more wishful thinking.
The women in the village were a little more practical.
They would gather the dew drops from the leaves early in the morning and bathe their faces in a fond belief it would prevent wrinkles – perhaps wishful thinking but at least cleansing.
But if they wished to remain eternally youthful and beautiful, they knew they had to go out naked first thing in the morning and dip their toe in the dewdrops on the Alchemilla leaves. Hmmmmmm.