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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Friends of Manito look to dazzle with new colors

Whenever I walk through my garden, there are a lot of plants that really stand out. So many of them have come from past Friends of Manito plant sales, and it was their cool and unique qualities that inspired me to bring them home.

On Saturday, gardeners will have the opportunity to find their own plant gems at this fall’s plant sale, held east of Manito Park’s Gaiser Conservatory on Spokane’s South Hill.

Proceeds from the sale will go toward improvements in Manito Park.

I recently met with plant sale manager Janis Saiki, who was excited to tell me about some of the selections that will be available.

“We’ve got a whole lot of hibiscus for this sale,” she said. “They are jaw-dropping when they start blooming because they have flowers the size of dinner plates. Hibiscus start blooming about the third week of July and will bloom through September. They are hardy to zone 5 and should be planted in the hottest, sunniest place in the garden.”

She is expecting the plants will be in bloom for the sale, making it easier – or perhaps more difficult – to make selections.

One of Saiki’s – and my – favorites is Agastache, or Hummingbird Mint. They attract hummingbirds as well as butterflies. The plants have fragrant foliage and a long bloom season. The newest cultivar, Violet Vision, will be available.

A brand new barberry should be very popular at the sale.

“Barberry (Berberis) Tangelo has beautiful burnt-orange foliage that is a real standout,” Saiki said. “It has a lower-mounding habit, is drought-tolerant and deer-resistant.”

Buddleia, or butterfly bush, is always a popular shrub, and the new InSpired Violet will be one of the offerings.

“It has racemes (flower spikes) that are 16 inches long, and they’re sterile so it doesn’t seed itself,” Saiki explained. “It has vivid purple flowers and is just beautiful.”

Another shrub she’s excited about is Goldy Euonymous.

“The leaves are bright yellow and are evergreen,” she said. “It has a very tidy habit so would make a nice edger for beds. And we’re always looking for color in winter.”

Tickseed (Coreopsis) is an easy perennial to grow, and Center Stage is sure to please with its dark burgundy-red flowers. It blooms for a long period and grows 2 feet tall.

Saiki also highlighted Monarda fistulosa, which is a native bee balm that doesn’t get powdery mildew as much as other bee balm cultivars.

“The plants will spread in the garden, but the pale purple flowers are so delicate, it’s just beautiful.”

There are many more plants that Saiki knows gardeners will be excited about. For a list and photos of plants available, go to

Susan Mulvihill can be reached via email at Visit her blog at for more gardening information, tips and events.