Plant Profile: Sedum telephium ‘Touchdown Teak’

Now when summer temperatures are sizzling, the desire to have spectacular color with plants able to withstand the heat and drought come to the forefront. Sedum telephium ‘Touchdown Teak’ is exactly what is needed. It is tough; tolerating zone 4 cold as well as significant heat and drought with flourish and vigor.  Plants have a clumping, mounding, low growing habit with strongly upright red stems. The shiny foliage is an amazing deep rich, bronze red color, more saturated than many of the newer Sedum cultivars and the intensity does not fade as the season progresses.

Four inch, clusters of showy, vivid, bright rose-red flowers are produced mid-summer into fall. The spent flowers are effective and interesting, if left uncut, throughout winter.

Sedum ‘Touchdown’ Teak is versatile, adaptable and looks phenomenal whether planted in the perennial border, xeriscape, rock garden, mixed container or even cut in a vase. Combine it with Sedum ‘Angelina,’ Salvia ‘Blue Hill,’ Festuca ‘Boulder Blue,’ Agastache rupestris and Echium amoenum for a knock-out garden vignette for fun sun and dry soil. All of these will be available at the plant sale September 9th.

Janis Saiki

Plant Profile: Viburnum dilatatum ‘SMNVDMDO’ Tandoori Orange

Photo Credit: Spring Meadow Nursery

Viburnum Tandoori Orange earns its place in any garden with its multi-seasons of interest. Massive, umbels of creamy white, 1/4” flowers appear in June and are attractive to butterflies.

The dark green leaves are broad, rounded and heavily puckered with coarsely serrated edges.

Because they have a similar look to those of a linden tree, Viburnum dilatatum is often referred to as a linden Viburnum. The foliage will turn a bright orange-red in the fall.

Bright orange, 1/3” berries develop in late summer and persist into winter. Berry production is best when planted near another Viburnum dilatatum. The dense habit of the shrub provides cover for nesting birds and the berries supplies good forage.

Viburnum Tandoori Orange would make a gorgeous screen, foundation planting, or hedge. Combine it with ornamental grasses, Rudbeckias and Sedums for a dramatic and spectacular  autumnal display. It is not bothered by pests or disease and is adaptable to light and soil conditions.

Janis Saiki

Plant Profile Dicentra spectabilis ‘Hordival’ Valentine and Dicentra formosa ‘Bacchanal’

  • Common Name: Bleeding Heart
  • Exposure: Part – full shade
  • Hardiness: Hardy to Zone 3 or -40 degrees
  • Mature size: 30” x 30” & 1’ x 1.5’
  • Bloom Time: May into June or longer

Dicentra ‘Hordival’ Valentine is an amazing bleeding heart introduction. It is just as large and elegant as the spectabilis species or traditional bleeding heart from our childhood. It has the same deer resistance, the same disease free foliage and the same low maintenance and easiness of the classic with the only difference being the rich red flowers and stems. Because red is the complimentary color to green Dicentra
Valentine glows like a beacon from the shade garden with its graceful arching stems lined with hanging hearts. Bleeding heart Valentine makes a long lasting and sophisticated cut flower perfect for any afternoon tea.

Dicentra formosa ‘Bacchanal’ has the well deserved Great plant Pick nod of approval. Plants form a compact, long blooming,
vigorous, gray-green mound of ferny foliage. Starting in late spring arching stems will develop to support dangling, deep rose red hearts that may bloom throughout summer if given adequate moisture and shade. When plants are allowed to dry out they will go summer dormant but planted amongst other shade loving plants like Rodgersia, Hosta and Brunnera the space will go unnoticed.

Janis Saiki

A Plant Sale Tale

What a spring we have had! Just a week ago it felt like February but every spring is a lesson in flexibility when plants behave differently than expected in response to conditions beyond our control.

 Last week, I was horribly worried when plants weren’t pushing, having been fooled it was late winter instead of late spring. This week is a different story entirely, although I did pull several plant cultivars out of our sale because of their size. Many have rocketed forth, some even beginning to bloom. This is a glorious time of year!

 The bumble bees are also out in numbers; a gratifying sight! Always busy and never idle, I had difficulty photographing them yesterday.

 All of our efforts culminate with the plant sale on Saturday, June 3rd. The planting, grooming and tagging is a monstrous feat the volunteers take on without hesitation. They have accomplished so very much already this year and I am so very grateful to them.

 I am always thinking of ways our sale will be more fun, interesting and worthwhile to our customers. New, this sale is our Clash of the Containers Competition. Rosauers has always been so exceptional towards The Friends of a Manito, helping us sell our pictorial calendars every fall. They have again partnered with us for this fun event and volunteered 5 employees to battle it out for bragging rights over the best container planting! We applaud them in advance! Thank you! It will be a great time!

Janis Saiki

Plant Profile Lychnis ‘Feuer’





  • Common Name: German Catchfly
  • Exposure: Part to full sun
  • Hardiness: Hardy to Zone 4 or -30 degrees
  • Mature size: 18-24” x 24”
  • Bloom Time: Late spring

Lychnis ‘Feuer’ is a profuse bloomer in late spring. In late spring thin, nearly leafless, but strong stems rocket upward. These are then topped with 5-petaled, bright almost neon pink flowers all neatly arranged in clusters.  Because of the massive and brilliant bloom, pollinators are attracted from all around.

The blooms make a long-lasting cut flower and look amazing in a vase all by themselves or with flowers of the Viburnum, lilac or those of a tree peony.

German catchfly foliage is thin and grass-like, forming a tidy, almost evergreen basal rosette. Plants prefer lean, dry, well draining soil and will tolerate a good amount of drought once established. Even though plants flourish in full sun they will still have an abundant bloom when planted in part shade. Lychnis ‘Feuer’ will self-seed when happy.

The botanical name of Lychnis has Greek origins with lychos meaning lamp, referring to the glowing, and intense color of the flowers.

Janis Saiki

Each Garden in a Box has a Personality


childs-13 enhanced 2
Deer-4 enhanced
Pollinator-2 enhanced
Dry-Shade-2 Enhanced
Edible-7 enhanced

Again this spring, we are offering our exclusive selection of pre-designed gardens, each one containing a collection of plants with a specific goal. And they all work well with each other. If you order one or more of these, we will select the plants for you, package them all up and have them ready to go. All you have to do is pay for them and haul them home.  It just can’t get any easier than this.

Child’s Garden Delight

The Friends of Manito child’s garden contains a couple plants with personality, one opens in the morning and closes in the evening, the other opens in the evening to attract moth pollinators. One plant is fuzzy and soft, another has flowers in the shape of a turtle’s head, some have a delightful fragrance and several attract pollinators. Then there are the large growing plants, one with huge flowers, a second with horizontal gold banding, and a third with fluffy, cloud-like flowers. All the plants included are selected for their different textures and form and to inspire a sense of wonder and awe of the world.

Dry Shade Garden

The Friends of Manito Dry Shade Garden-in-a-Box was designed to add lots of color, interest and illumination in a darker shade area with plants that can tolerate the difficult, drier soil caused by the roots of thirsty shade trees.

Pollinator Garden

There are specific plants that pollinators are attracted to most. The plants included in The Friends of Manito Pollinator Garden-in-a-Box have proven to be the biggest magnets to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Sit back and enjoy watching all the new flurry of garden visitors.

Edible Garden

All the plants included in the Edible Garden-in-a-Box are hardy to this area, disease resistant, prolific producers, and maybe just a little exceptional. How fun would it be to pass through an arbor and just reach up and pick a few hardy kiwi?

Deer Resistant and Zone 4 Hardy Garden

The deer resistant & hardy to zone 4 Garden-in-a-Box was specifically designed for all those that may have given up having a beautiful garden because deer have obliterated any plant ever tried or because it is just too difficult to find tough plants hardy enough to survive a harsh -22 to -30 degrees below zero winter. This garden is your solution!

To examine these in detail and to order one, check out our Garden-in-a-Box page.

Plant Profile Fragaria ‘Fort Laramie’ & Fragaria ‘Ruby Ann’

  • Common Name: Strawberry
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Hardiness: Hardy to Zone 4, -30 degrees
  • Mature size: 3-6”x 12-15” & 8-12” x 36”
  • Fruiting time: all season

Fragaria ‘Fort Laramie’ was hybridized in Cheyenne, Wyoming to be extremely hardy, to zone 4 or -30 degrees below zero. F. ‘Fort Laramie’ would be a great selection for a year round container because of this hardiness. It is a vigorous, ever-bearing, self-pollinating strawberry and will produce lots of runners. 5-petaled, white flowers give way to large, plentiful and very sweet tasting fruit.

Fragaria ananassa ‘Ruby Ann’ is also a very hardy, ever-bearing strawberry. It is extremely ornamental and produces large, deep ruby red flowers all season. The fruit is medium sized, also ruby red, delicious and ripens throughout the summer. Try F. ‘Ruby Ann’ in a hanging basket where the masses of blooms are showy and the strawberries are allowed to hang down below the basket. Plants prefer rich, moist, well-draining soil in full sun. Both strawberry cultivars are disease resistant.

Photo credits: Walter’s Gardens

Janis Saiki