Lady’s Mantle


Alchemilla vulgaris

Lady’s Mantle is one of my very favourite herbs.  It was a bit tricky to start but once established there has been no stopping it from popping up in every shady spot it can find.


Lady’s Mantle is a sturdy perennial with unique and beautiful bluish green leaves branching out from a center stock.    Lady’s Mantle spreads easily and in decent soil will easily grow over a foot tall.   It blooms almost all summer with sprays of delicate yellow flowers.    This is one of those special herbs that thrives in full shade and should be the backbone of any shade garden.

Growing Information

Lady’s Mantle is a perennial herb that is hardy in Zones 3 – 9.     It can be tricky to start but will germinate if the seed flat is covered and tucked into the fridge until it germinates.    The good news is that once it is started Lady’s Mantle is unstoppable.    I have found that it was best to put it in one bed by itself so that it didn’t overwhelm more delicate herbs.

There has been nothing that a Nova Scotia winter could throw at it that has ever slowed it down either.


Although Lady’s Mantle has historically been used for childbirth to stem bleeding, under no circumstances should it be used during pregnancy.

Please note that while there are other varieties than vulgaris, I have not found any available in either seed or plants.

If you let the runaway popups mature each season, the plants can be harvested without decimating your herb bed.

Blessed Thistle


Cnicus benedictus

I always feel like there is a little bit of history in my garden whenever I grow Blessed Thistle.   In the Middle Ages it was widely cultivated in European herb gardens for its medicinal properties.   Since then, it has naturalized in most of Europe.


Blessed Thistle is an erect spiny annual herb that thrives in hot dry weather.  It produces thistle like yellow flowers that are at least and inch and a half in diameter.

Growing Information

Blessed Thistle is very easy to start from seed directly in the garden after the danger of frost has passed.      While it can tolerate poor soil, Blessed Thistle can easily reach two feet in height in well nourished soil.  Plants should be spaced at least a foot apart to avoid crowding.

Each plant yields such a bounty that for personal use one would never need more than half a dozen plants in any given year.


Wear gloves when handling and harvesting this very bristly plant.    Wear safety glasses if you are hanging the plants to dry overhead.

There is an upside to such a prickly plant as a row of it makes a splendid barrier to discourage wildlife traffic though the garden 🙂

If you have room in a freezer, Blessed Thistle is one plant that freeze dries very well.