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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In the Garden: Friends of Manito’s fall plant sale offers lots of options – no appointment necessary

Plant sale co-coordinator Gabi Tilley is looking forward to welcoming enthusiastic shoppers to the Friends of Manito fall plant sale on Saturday.  (By Susan Mulvihill/For The Spokesman-Review)
Plant sale co-coordinator Gabi Tilley is looking forward to welcoming enthusiastic shoppers to the Friends of Manito fall plant sale on Saturday. (By Susan Mulvihill/For The Spokesman-Review)
By Susan Mulvihill For The Spokesman-Review

Plantaholics, rejoice. The Friends of Manito have brought back their traditional fall plant sale where you can shop for plants without needing an appointment. It will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The plants will be moved into the sale yard, organized on tables in the categories of sun, grasses, shrubs and vines, edibles and shade – just like the good old days.

In addition to the above categories, the sale will also feature houseplants and home and garden décor. Plant sale co-coordinator Gabi Tilley is really looking forward to the event.

“I love the excitement that people have for Manito Park and the plant sale,” she said. “They’re excited to see plants that are new to them. We have a nice variety, many of which are blooming now.”

After this year’s extreme heat and dry conditions, it’s likely many gardeners will be adding drought-tolerant plants to their shopping list. Fortunately, there will be plenty to choose from at this sale.

Three beautiful, water-saving and sun-loving ornamental grasses caught my eye:

The foliage of Blackhawks Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) puts on quite a show by transforming from green to purple in late summer to almost black in the fall. It will grow 4 feet to 5 feet tall and is hardy to zone 3.

Blond Ambition Grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis) is more petite at a height of 2½ feet and features gray-green foliage and golden flowers that are held horizontally above the leaves. It is hardy to zone 4.

Karl Foerster feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora) is attractive throughout the season but positively glows in the fall with its golden, feathery plumes. It tops out at 5 feet in height and is hardy to zone 4.

Looking for more color? Here are a few drought-tolerant perennials to brighten your landscape:

Superba big betony (Stachys macrantha) features dark green leaves with scalloped edges and light purple flower stalks. The plants grow 1½ to 2 feet tall, are hardy to zone 4 and prefer full sun. I’m growing these in my small rose garden, and they are really sweet plants.

Honeysong Purple Stokes’ aster (Stokesia laevis) has a lot going for it. The vivid purple flowers bloom from midsummer to fall and attract pollinators. The plants have dark-green foliage and grow about 1 foot tall and 2 feet wide. They are also deer-resistant. Hardy to zone 5, they do best in full sun.

If you’re looking for contrast, consider Drops of Jupiter ornamental oregano (Origanum). Its chartreuse foliage makes it stand out in a landscape, while the mauve pink flowers add beauty. These plants are both heat and drought tolerant, they attract pollinators, and they resist deer browsing. Hardy to zone 4, the plants grow 2 feet tall, prefer a sunny setting and are easy to grow.

Proceeds from the sale will fund projects in Manito Park and support the many free educational activities the Friends of Manito offers to the community throughout the year. Friends of Manito members will receive a 10% discount on their purchases.

Susan Mulvihill is author of “The Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook.” She can be reached at Watch this week’s “Everyone Can Grow a Garden” video at

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