Arrow-right Camera
News >  Features

Annual sale has perennial faves

Friends of Manito sale also offers shrubs, vines and plenty of other plants

Have you made your shopping list for The Friends of Manito plant sale yet? It’s next Saturday and the more prepared you are, the easier it will be to score awesome plants for your garden.

Plant manager Janis Saiki has good advice to help you make your selections.

“Choose long-bloomers and multi-seasonal plants so they will earn their place in your landscapes,” she says. “Know what your soil and light conditions are, how much water you will have available and the amount of maintenance you want to put into your garden.”

Saiki and her army of volunteers have been lovingly tending thousands of plants started from seeds, plugs and bareroot stock.

She recently discussed her favorite plant picks – an admittedly difficult task – that would be ideal for home gardens:

•Agastache Blue Fortune, A. rupestris Sinning (Anise Hyssop) – Height: 3 to 4 feet (Blue Fortune) and 15 inches (Sinning); exposure: full sun; deer-resistant, drought-tolerant. “They bloom from midsummer to a hard frost and hummingbirds love them.”

•Coreopsis Dreamcatcher (Tickseed) – Height: 14 to 18 inches; exposure: full sun; deer-resistant, drought-tolerant. “This brand-new cultivar is very easy to grow. The flowers are magenta pink with a dark purple eye.”

•Dicentra Burning Hearts and Gold Heart (Bleeding Heart) – Height: 10 to 12 inches; exposure: sun to shade; deer-resistant. “Burning Hearts has blue-gray foliage and almost true-red flowers edged in white. It blooms all summer in part shade. Gold Heart is absolutely spectacular with its gold foliage.

•Echinacea Hot Papaya and Pink Poodle (Coneflower) – Height: 30 to 36 inches; exposure: full sun; deer-resistant, drought-tolerant. “The coneflowers bloom through the summer, are easy to grow, like drier soil and come in spectacular colors.”

•Geranium Rozanne (Cranesbill) – Height: 18 to 20 inches; exposure: full sun to part shade. “If a homeowner can only buy one plant and they have full sun, this is the plant for them. It blooms from May to a hard frost and nothing bothers it. The flowers are an iridescent blue.”

•Helianthemum Dazzler (Rock Rose) – Height: 12 to 18 inches; exposure: full sun; deer-resistant, drought-tolerant. “This one has evergreen foliage and crimson flowers that cover the plant from spring to early summer.”

•Helleborus hybridus Berry Swirl and Peppermint Ice (Lenten Rose) – Height: 14 to 24 inches; exposure: part to full shade; deer-resistant, drought-tolerant. “This is one of the few plants that can take dry shade. The flowers are phenomenal, appearing in February and March.”

•Heuchera Berry Smoothie and Plum Royale (Coral Bells) – Height: 18 inches (Berry Smoothie), 8 to 12 inches (Plum Royale); exposure: part to full shade; deer-resistant. “These are two of the many cultivars we’ll have for the sale. They are just phenomenal with their evergreen foliage.”

•Hibiscus Sultry Kiss and Party Favor (Rose Mallow) – Height: 4 to 5 feet; exposure: full sun; deer-resistant. “These tall plants should be planted in the hottest, sunniest part of the garden and should be in everyone’s garden. The jaw-dropping flowers are the size of dinner plates.”

•Hydrangea Invincibelle Spirit Annabelle – Height: 3 to 4 feet; exposure: full sun to part shade. “This new species of the popular shrub blooms on the current season’s wood so they are reliable bloomers. They have immense pink blooms 12 inches across.”

•Origanum libanoticum Kent Beauty and Amethyst Falls (Ornamental Oregano) – Height: 15 inches; exposure: full sun; deer-resistant, drought-tolerant. “These make wonderful container plants because they hang over the sides and bloom all summer long. The bracts are pink. They are ornamental oregano, not the culinary herb.”

•Scrophularia macrantha Red Birds in a Tree – Height: 24 to 48 inches; exposure: full sun to part shade; drought-tolerant. “Hummingbirds are attracted to these flowers that look like little red birds. They bloom from mid-June to frost.”

•Sedum Autumn Delight, Hab Gray and Carl (Stonecrop) – Height: 18 to 24 inches (Autumn Delight), 12 to 20 inches (Hab Gray), 18 inches (Carl); exposure: full sun; drought-tolerant (Hab Gray and Carl). “These upright species of Sedums are truly four-season plants: they’re pretty in the spring and look gorgeous in the summer with their flower heads. Leave the dried seed heads on the plants for fall and winter interest. They are indispensible in the garden.”

Susan Mulvihill can be reached via e-mail at