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March 2019



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Alchemilla Rampant

I’ve spent an hour this afternoon doing nothing but slash Alchemilla mollis to the ground and barrow it off to the compost heap. And I’ve only finished one bed. In one of Graham Stuart Thomas’s books, probably Plants for Ground Cover, there’s a photograph captioned ‘Alchemilla mollis in complete control.’ That’s pretty much the idea the wretched plant has got here: it’s everywhere. In late spring and early summer the pleated leaves hold moisture magically.

The acid yellow flowers set off spring blooms and are very useful in a vase; one rose can look a picture with a frill of Lady's Mantle. By this time of year though, the flowers are turning brown, wind and rain have made the long stems flop and it’s starting to look a mess. It still looks a mess when cut down but new foliage will soon put that right. Heigh ho, at least two more sessions to finish the job.

Another thing there's far too much of: crocosmias, or montbretias as people call them. I hate them! The plant right outside the kitchen window has massive sword-like leaves, which are now as tall as I am, and eyeball-searing flowers. The flower just doesn’t merit the enormous space taken up by all that foliage, which will have to be got rid of later on. There are clumps of smaller varieties all over the garden; like everything else here, they’ve been allowed to spread wherever they like. They’re tough to dig up because it’s almost impossible to get out every last little fragment of bulb. Horrid things. I shouldn't condemn the whole species. I do like the well-behaved variety ‘Solfaterre’, which has bronzy foliage and soft apricot flowers. Pretty and no trouble at all.

So far, my plans for my new garden consist largely of listing things which I shall have to get someone else to chop down or dig up for me. Then I’ll get planting.


This made me smile, because I love alchemilla (which I don't have enough of in my new garden) and was just thinking about how much I miss the crocosmia at my old house! I agree about the foliage, though, especially when it's all died back (I have not-so-fond memories of tearing up huge chunks of the stuff!) I will look out for Solfaterre.
I love alchemilla, too, but I suppose 'assez c'est bien ...'
Alchemilla alpina is rather more modest, but then less usable (I've got a jug full of the mollis brightening things up right beside me).
I do like it, it's just too much, as cornflower says.


Awful plants

What I hate, hate, hate is something called goutweed. Do you have it over there? Some people here actually plant the da*# stuff, but it takes over and grows and grows. We got some somehow, and I'm always asking Tom to pull it out. We don't even put it in the woods as a pulled out deadish thing because I think it would resurrect and spread.

Re: Awful plants

Hi Nan, I had to Google goutweed and yes, we certainly do have it. Known here as ground elder or Bishop's Weed. So deceptively pretty in flower, so terribly hard to get rid of. Can you hate it as much as bindweed? :-)


I love alchemilla m. - it's all over the place now - but I don't have crocosima. Maybe I should plant it as it looks cheerful, though I suppose it might die in our colder winters.
Yes, ground elder is a nightmare but you can keep it out of the flowerbeds if you persevere, also it's possible to unwind bindweed and kill it with glyphosate.
The one plant I really loathe is allium italicum - I must remember to blog a warning about planting it because I deeply regret doing so.

Re: Invaders

I suppose it might die
! It's tough as old boots and grows in hedgerows. The better varieties do need a little shelter.
Do you mean Arum italicum? I like it but it is a so-and-so to get rid of. Strictly for the wild garden.


Re: Invaders

Yes, I do mean arum italicum - senior moment, sorry. About six years ago I planted one and now it is all over my garden, spread by the birds. I put it on the bonfire, and now it grows around the edge of that too