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

In the Garden: The Friends of Manito Plant Sale

Judy Palrud and Gabi Tilley, plant sale co-coordinators for the Friends of Manito, are particularly excited about this selection of edible plants, which includes jostaberries, gooseberries and black and red currants.  (Susan Mulvihill/For The Spokesman-Review)
By Susan Mulvihill For The Spokesman-Review

We gardeners sure love a good plant sale. On Saturday, the Friends of Manito Spring Plant Sale will feature plenty of great additions for our gardens. There will be perennials, ornamental grasses, shrubs, edible plants, houseplants and succulents.

I recently wrote about methods for conserving water in our landscapes, including the use of more drought-tolerant plants. There are so many fabulous plants in this category that will be available at the plant sale. Most will grow in full sun.

Achillea (yarrow) Sassy Summer Sangria – Their lacy, silvery-green foliage provides a lovely contrast to the deep-red flower heads. Growing up to 3 feet tall, they are hardy down to zone 3, attract pollinators and are deer-resistant.

Baptisia (false indigo) I’ve grown this intriguing plant for years, and it is tough yet beautiful with its colorful flower spikes. You’ll find an impressive array of varieties at the sale, including American Goldfinch, Blueberry Sundae, Cherries Jubilee and Honey Roasted. All are about 36 inches tall and hardy to zone 4, and they tolerate part shade, attract pollinators and are deer-resistant.

Echinacea (coneflower) In addition to having low water needs, these popular perennials are prized for their bright flowers and attractive leaves. Look for Coral Craze, PowWow Wild Berry, Purple Emperor and Sangrita.

They grow about 36 inches tall, are hardy to zone 4, are very popular with bees, will tolerate part shade and are deer-resistant.

Sedum (stonecrop) Blue Spruce, Fuldaglut, John Creech and Lidankense are all groundcovers with evergreen leaves and showy blossoms. They range from 3 to 9 inches tall and are very hardy.

If you’re looking for ornamental grasses, here are three great options:

Bouteloua (Grama grass) Gracilis and Blonde Ambition, which are hardy to zones 3 and 4, respectively, feature golden flowers that are held horizontally above the leaves. Gracilis will grow about 12 inches tall while Blonde Ambition can reach 3 feet in height.

Miscanthus sinensis (zebra grass) Little Zebra is a dwarf variety that grows about 4 feet tall, has eye-catching green leaves with golden bands and provides winter interest in the garden. It is hardy to zone 5 and tolerates part shade.

Panicum virgatum (switch grass) Ruby Ribbons will provide a lovely accent in your garden when the leaves change to burgundy from late summer into fall. Growing 3 to 4 feet in height, it is hardy to zone 4, has attractive seed heads and will tolerate part shade.

“I would estimate that over 70% of our plants could be considered drought-tolerant,” plant sale co-coordinator Gabi Tilley said. “Shoppers can view the list of available plants on our website.”

She is looking forward to seeing all of the people who began gardening during the pandemic and are continuing with their new-found passion.

“This has been such a challenging spring,” she added. “I would really like to thank all of the volunteers for diligently coming to care for the plants through rain, snow, sleet and hail.”

The Friends of Manito members receive a 10% discount on plant purchases. All proceeds benefit Manito Park.

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