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New penstemons

Variegated lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis)

Alchemillavariegated500 Just before I left Pennsylvania for England three weeks ago, judy and I went to Lowe’s to see if we could add to our pieris collection. For British readers, Lowe’s is like Homebase or B&Q but the stores are about five times as big.

On the bench in the sparsely stocked plant centre (it was still hardly spring) was a tray of lady’s mantle, Alchemilla mollis ‘Thriller’. And right in the middle amongst the usual green-leaved plants was one that was variegated. I snapped it up.

‘Thriller’ is more prolific than the usual form with rather more spreading plumes of flowers. This one plant, as you can see from the picture, has foliage splashed in gold.

When I visited Cotswold Garden Flowers recently, I mentioned this find to owner Bob Brown who happens to be Chairman of the Variegated Plant Group of the Hardy Plant Society. He said that such plants turned up occasionally but were not usually stable and eventually reverted to green.

Well, mine is planted and growing well. If it proves stable I’ll pass it along to a nursery to propagate and post a picture of the mature plant here in due course. If it reverts to green – I’ll still post a picture.

And next time you’re in Lowe’s, or any other big nursery or garden center, keep your eyes open.