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


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

Plant Profile Brunnera


  • Common Name: Brunnera
  • Exposure: Part-full shade
  • Hardiness: Hardy to Zone 3 & 4, -30 & -40 degrees
  • Mature size: 12-15” x 12-28”
  • Bloom Time: Mid – late spring

Brunnera macrophylla is indispensable in the  shade garden. They flourish in moist organically rich or dry soil, so can be planted under thirsty trees. The heart-shaped foliage illuminates any woodland location with its silvery highlights or bright white margins. Forget-me-not-like, true blue flowers are produced in sprays, before the foliage enlarges in early May. The blooms may just take your breath away. Both the leaves and the flowers are spectacular in a vase.

Because Brunnera is so hardy; to at least -30 degrees, it is an excellent choice for a year round container.

Brunnera ‘Alexander’s Great’ is just like B. ‘Jack Frost’ only much larger!

Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ is heavily frosted with silver making a great contrast with the dark green venation.

Brunnera ‘Looking Glass’ has almost completely silver foliage.

Brunnera ‘Variegata’ is magnificent with wide, bright white margins. Any of these Brunnera will not disappoint!

Plant Profile Gaillardia arisata ‘Arizona Apricot’ & ‘Arizona Sun’







  • Common Name: Blanket Flower
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Hardiness: Hardy to Zone 3 or -40 degrees
  • Mature size: 12” x 12”
  • Bloom Time: Early summer into fall

Both of these cultivars of the native blanket flower produce masses of 3-3.5” flowers and are early summer to fall blooming, deer resistant, drought tolerant, prefer lean, well draining soil, and are compact. Both are well branched, tidy and only grow 12” tall by 12” wide and won’t flop or become rangy like many of the taller cultivars on the market.

Gaillardia derives its common name blanket flower, for the way they used to blanket the American prairies. The species can be found growing wild in sunny, hot, open areas around Spokane.

Gaillardia ‘Arizona Apricot’ is new to the market and flaunts petals with more subtle coloring of gold and apricot. The central cones are a soft chartreuse yellow.

Gaillardia ‘Arizona Sun’ is flamboyant with burning orange red petals, all tipped with bright, saturated yellow. The cone in the center is a rich, reddish brown color. Butterflies are attracted to the bright colors. Cut blooms are great in a vase.

Janis Saiki