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Monday, February 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In the Garden: Friends of Manito fall plant sale

Enchanted Eve coreopsis is one of the many $5 perennials available at the Friends of Manito fall plant sale on Sept. 10. SUSAN MULVIHILL/SPECIAL TO THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Susan Mulvihill / The Spokesman-Review)
Enchanted Eve coreopsis is one of the many $5 perennials available at the Friends of Manito fall plant sale on Sept. 10. SUSAN MULVIHILL/SPECIAL TO THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Susan Mulvihill / The Spokesman-Review)

All gardeners dream of getting a great deal on fabulous plants. That dream will come true at Saturday’s Friends of Manito fall plant sale, since they’ll have thousands of plants priced at just $5.

I’ve consistently found top-notch plants well-suited to our climate at their sales. Many have the added bonus of being drought-tolerant and deer-resistant.

In addition to the $5 bargains, the fall sale includes plants that attract pollinators and hummingbirds, have winter interest, evergreen foliage, berries or flower heads that dry beautifully for arrangements. There will be shrubs, ornamental grasses, herbaceous and tree peonies, houseplants, roses, and home and garden decor.

Shoppers can also preorder one of four Garden-in-a-Box kits for pickup at the sale. Each kit contains plants with a specific design in mind: a zone 4 shade garden; a xeric, dry-creek bed garden; a hummingbird-attracting garden; and a deer-resistant garden. To learn more, visit

Washington State University Master Gardeners and plant specialists will be on hand to assist shoppers with questions. Employees from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will answer questions about establishing backyard habitats and the Spokane Audubon Society will teach homeowners how to help birds get through the winter months. Two live bands will perform during the sale as well.

Knowing there will be more than 400 types of perennials at the sale makes it awfully difficult to put together my shopping list. But after perusing the list of offerings, a few stand out that I’ll definitely give a closer look.

Ornamental grasses bring a lot to the garden: they’re low-maintenance, deer-resistant, add winter interest and make a pleasing rustling sound when there’s a breeze. El Dorado feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora) should be quite striking since its green leaves feature bright yellow midribs. It has an upright growth habit, a height of 4 feet, prefers full sun and is hardy down to USDA zone 4.

Morning Light maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis) is another ornamental grass that would be a showstopper in any landscape. The narrow, arching leaves have a white midrib and margins, and grow as long as 5 feet. It tolerates full sun to part shade and is hardy to zone 5.

I think delphiniums lend a regal air to flower beds with their showy flower spikes. Pacific Giant Astolat is particularly notable for its unusual mauve pink color. They’ll grow as tall as 5 feet in full sun and are exceptionally hardy down to zone 3. The flowers will draw in hummingbirds and pollinators, a lovely added benefit.

The blossoms on Real Neat Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum superbum) drew me in as soon as I saw their double layer of white fluted petals. They’ll grow a manageable 16 inches tall, prefer full sun and are hardy to zone 5. They’re also drought-tolerant and deer-resistant.

Who can resist a plant with showy flower heads, late-season bloom, variegated leaves and drought tolerance? Lajos Autumn Charm stonecrop (Sedum) is all that and more. It loves the sun and is hardy to zone 3.

Remember that all proceeds from the plant sale will benefit Manito Park. Members of the Friends of Manito will receive 10 percent off their plant purchases. New members can join during the sale.

Susan Mulvihill is co-author, with Pat Munts, of “Northwest Gardener’s Handbook.” Contact her at and follow her on susansinthegarden.

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