Last weekend we took a road trip up to Spokane to visit my family. We could have any weekend to visit but I picked this one because it was the Friends of Manito Plant Sale.
This sale holds a special place in my history. I went faithfully when I lived, and gardened, in Spokane. The last time I attended the sale (7 years ago) was the very day I decided to follow my husband to Portland. We weren’t married then, the company he worked for had been sold and he had an excellent offer to relocate. It was the morning of this sale 7 years ago that he decided he was going and asked me to come with him. My mom arrived at my house shortly after that (we attended the sale together whenever possible) I was in tears while telling her that I was moving away. In less than two months I packed up and sold my house, and we arrived in Portland just after midnight on July 31st 2004. It’s now 2011 and I finally got to go back to the Friends of Manito Plant Sale…time flies when your life is filled with passion (gardening in Portland…and the marriage)! Truth be told I was a little concerned that the sale I remembered with such fondness wouldn’t be “all that” anymore. Had I been spoiled by the fabulous plant sales and nurseries in Portland? And Spokane is 2 zones colder than Portland, those two zones cut out a lot of exciting plants! Would there be anything good to buy? On the other hand anything that I discovered here was bound to sail through our winters…no zonal denial to be found living in zone 8 and shopping in zone 5. Turns out I had no trouble finding a cart load of plants to buy.
I passed up a baby Paulownia tomentosa for only $9… But fell for this crazy “Joint Fir” (Ephedra minuta, on the left) while my mom scooped up a (about ready to bloom) Foxtail Lily (Eremurus, on the right) I also had to have 3 Yellow Gentian (Gentiana lutea) when I saw the picture of the crazy stacked yellow flowers. Looks like my mom has a thing for big leaves too… that's her checking out the Alocasia and Colocasia in the "houseplants" section. And her "haul" (the Foxtail Lily is in there somewhere, hidden by the big leaves). This sale featured one advantage that the prior ones did not. I had a dedicated plant hauling assistant, my nephew Trent (being only 5 yrs old when I attended my last Manito Plant sale he wasn’t up for joining us. At the ripe old age of 12 he was much more interested). It was fabulous to find my hands full with plants and then have them magically whisked away to the cart (I know! An outdoor plant sale with shopping carts!?) by a willing assistant. So here is my haul…(in addition to the Joint Fir and Yellow Gentain mentioned above): a huge Astilboides tabularis, and an equally large Darmera Peltata (Umbrella Plant), Rodgersia aesculifolia, a fabulous thin ruffled leafed Alocasia ‘boa’, and (finally!) a Rheum palmatum (Ornamental Rhubarb). Not bad eh? So just what is “Manito” (as in the Friends of Manito Plant Sale), well just the best park ever! I did a post back in 2009 on a visit, but this park is such a wonderful gem that it deserves another go ‘round. First things first…it’s pronounced “man it toe” not “man eee toe” that’s how the locals can tell if you’re from out of town. Secondly it’s huge, 90 acres to be exact. In addition to plenty of open green space the park is home to 5 different gardens (Perennial, Rose, Lilac, Japanese, and the formal Duncan Gardens), plus a fabulous Conservatory (with Agaves!) and a duck pond. Since we had spent so much time at the plant sale I can’t properly document the entire park but here are a few pictures to give you an idea how wonderful it is starting with the formal Duncan Garden above (recently planted for summer). And then going into the Conservatory, where future Spokane danger gardeners can catch the spiky plant bug! Look at the smallest little Joshua Tree! (so said the label) And finally a few pictures from the Joel E Ferris Perennial Garden. I didn’t realize that Plume Poppies were hardy in Spokane, now I’ll have to be sure to save some of my seedlings for my mom! It seems every time I visit I fall in love with these Pasque Flowers (Pulsatilla Vulgaris ‘Papageno’) seedheads. Then I look up the plant and realize the flower itself is actually a little, well, “too much” (ugly). Okay back home now…time to plant my new plants!