Thursday, March 9, 2017

Thursday, 9th March

Lady's Mantle or Alchemilla Vulgaris

'In the night it closeth it selfe together lyke a purse, and in the morning it is found ful of dewe' William Turner in 1568.
   
the best photo I could find  

This is a post in praise of a plant, I have missed Lady's Mantle (alchemisa vulgaris) since being in Yorkshire, thought at first it could not grow up here.  I love it for  its pale lemon mists of tiny flowers, its leaves unfolding and then folding at night, when it rains it holds the raindrops in its cupped leaves like jewels. Yesterday we went to a local nursery, firstly to look for a fruit tree or two, and bought two plum trees, Early Rivers - prolific and Victoria Plum, which should be delivered soon.  As I wandered around the perennials, a section of scruffy pots covered in dead leaves took my eye, and my heart took a leap, found, and sure enough under the dead leaves were healthy young plants.  Everyone at the desk tutted as I paid for them, pulling at the dead leaves, but my heart was content ;)
They have a long history according to Grigson, magical plants that they are.  For instance should your cow be 'elf-shotten' sick, it had been attacked by a wicked elf with one of their flint arrow blades, then you must make the cow, drink three times from a concoction of the plant.  This medicine had also to have water used from the meeting of three parishes, all magical of course.
It was a cure for wounds, inside and out; for making maiden breasts lose their fullness, and also an aphrodisiac not just for humans but cows as well.

Alchemilla = little powerful one, little magical one....

It has a history of goodness, it's  Christianised name coming from Mary of course, the shape of the leaves also resembled the palm of the hand.  And one other thing to mention for it being magical, is that it had nine lobes of the leaves, which would indicate that it had an Anglo-Saxon history as well.





8 comments:

  1. I think you will find it grows much further north than Yorkshire,my garden in County Durham has a plentiful supply.

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    1. That of course is the one godd thing about the plant it will spread quite happily.

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  2. Thank you for this magical post!! : ) Enjoy your new plants!! xo

    ~ Wendy
    http://Crickleberrycottage.blogspot.com/

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    1. It is quite extraordinary the way plants were used in medieval times Wendy, as medicines and cures. Best not to try it nowadays....

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  3. Not sure if we have any here in our new home, but it's a Must Have plant for me too, and we had a big clump at the smallholding. Just love the dew on it - I think Fairies use it for washing each morning!

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    1. It is good news about your new move, and I hope the new garden will have pleasant surprises as well, including Lady's Mantle, which always adds a gentle symmetry to a border......

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  4. Lady's Mantle is one of my favorites and always wintered over in my Vermont gardens. I have lost several starts of it here in Kentucky and suspect that the long and very humid summers cause the crown to rot. I have one small clump which has made it through a season . The fragile new leaves are struggling against several nights of frost. I hope it can survive.

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  5. America of course has many climates, ours on the other hands is just slightly warmer in the south, compared to the north, which as you travel to the far reaches of Scotland gets windier, wetter and more snow.

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