Here is an excerpt of a first version of my book that I’ve been pounding away on for weeks now. I so cherish all of your feedback and have taken all of your comments into account to this point.
When in doubt, why not ask?
I would love your feedback on the following:
Book title – any creative ideas after reading through below? I’ll handsomely award the winner of the one I like best.
Content – more or less info based on the excerpt below? Less “sentences” and more boxes/bullets/etc?
Layout – this snippet isn’t an exact replica of the layout but it is as close as I can get. What do you think?
Tone – is it me?
Thank you all in advance for taking the time to assist me here.
Alchemilla mollis (Lady’s Mantle)
I remember the exact day back in the fall of 2003 when I decided to purchase some Lady’s Mantle for the first time. Up until that point, all I thought about was flowers in my garden. Foliage was nice, but an afterthought.
My obsession with plants and gardening was gaining steam and I was reading books relentlessly. Books you ask? Those are pages of printed words and photos that are held together with binding. Your grandfather can tell you all about them.
I don’t recall the exact book, but it was all about design and one photo grabbed my attention and changed the course of my garden fanaticism. A beautiful and haunting garden photographed in the early morning was lined with Lady’s Mantle that was covered in dew droplets. My tongue dropped to the floor and I knew I had to try it.
Fast forward a few months and I planted a whole bunch myself in my tiny front bed at our old Cape Cod home in Somerville, NJ. I was so proud of it and sensed that my love of plants was going to exponentially increase now that foliage was part of the game.
Sadly, we moved out of that home by the end of that year and I never got to grow with my new favorite edging plant. I did drive by the home periodically for a good 2 to 3 years after that just so I could watch my babies mature into full adult plants. They ended up looking beautiful even if the new homeowners let everything fall to shit in the garden around them. The day they pulled them out of the ground, I almost got out of my car and approached the house in a fit of rage.
Luckily I thought better of it and drove away and spared myself jail time.
Instead, I bought a bunch and put them in my newly developing garden where they still reside today.
Alchemilla mollis rarely steals the show in the garden. Instead, it is that steady performing groundcover or edging plant that makes the garden whole.
From the moment those leaves start to unfurl in spring, you know old reliable is back for another season.
Let me correct myself for one moment. There is a time when this perennial does truly “shine”. That is when Lady’s Mantle captures the rain droplets in spring. It is a photographer’s dream.
Beyond that, this plant provides a nice contrasting leaf shape to other perennials and shrubs from spring through fall.
The chartreuse blooms, typically arriving in June, are a nice understated feature as well.
I have found it is best to trim off the spent flowers as soon as possible to keep this plant looking its best as summer approaches.
• Survives in zones 3 – 8
• Size typically maxes out at 1.5 ‘ x 2.5’
• Can handle full sun to almost full shade
• Blooms in June here in zone 6B
• Prefers a consistently moist soil
• Has been reliably deer and rabbit resistant over the years
• Non US native
• Flowers brown quickly and can become an eyesore (see more below)
• Leaves are scalloped and fuzzy to the touch
I currently have these as a groundcover in my back bed along the deck.
In full bloom in June and backed by the light of the afternoon sun.
As you can see below, Lady’s Mantle comes along pretty quickly in spring as evidenced by the “still no signs of life” ornamental grass sitting behind them.
**NEGATIVE ALERT** The one negative/higher maintenance aspect of Lady’s Mantle is that it does require constant moisture. If not, this is what you may see.
Luckily for me, constant moisture isn’t much of a problem unless we have a real dry summer but keep that in mind before purchasing Lady’s Mantle.
This perennial has been labeled as “invasive” but I can say that has not been a problem for me at all. In fact, I’ve never seen a single seedling since I’ve had these. This may be due to the fact that I am pretty diligent in cutting off the spent blooms and therefore there is no opportunity for reseeding.
I must also add that my deadheading has never resulted in any re-blooming later in the season.