With only three days until spring officially arrives, why not plan for landscape changes or additions? This is the time of year when a number of area non-profit organizations have their annual fundraising plant sales. Locally, Green Valley Gardeners will have many colorful plants available in the shady northeast corner of Continental Shopping Plaza, from Thursday, March 21, through Saturday, March 23.

Choosing plants by color can add dimension to the garden, along with a trace of artistry. If the brightness of reds, yellows and oranges interest you, there are numerous choices.

Newly available at the sale will be “Red Spike” Ice Plants, perfect for containers, borders, groundcover, or rock gardens. Buds form in late winter, opening mid-day into radiant hot pink to red, starburst-shaped, 2-inch blooms. For even more color, thick gray-green leaves take on a reddish hue in cool weather.

A new spicy red-flowered hybrid in the nursery trade is an addition to the family of native Yellowbells and Orangebells. The stunning trumpet flowers are as the name implies, “Red Hot” Tecoma. Maturing at compact 3 to 4 feet high and wide, this is the perfect plant for small places, in sun or part shade, requiring low water, and loving our desert heat.

Sweet-scented Salvias are everyone’s favorite, including bright “Radio Red,” rosy “Sparkle,” and “Purple Ignition.” Also available: “Santa Barbara” Mexican Bush Salvias with velvety deep purple flowers are hummingbird and people pleasers.

For year-round gardeners, consider members of the Lantana summer-blooming family. Especially cheerful are “Dallas Red” with eye-catching clusters of deep red blossoms or multi-colored “Irene.”

Before leaving the warm color palette, offered will also be another new variety, “Orange Peel” Jessamine. Fast growing to 6 feet high and wide, this shrub looks much like a living bouquet of long-lasting, pure orange-colored blossoms that, interestingly, provide a sweet scent at sunset.

With all of this spicy color in the garden, if a certain calm is needed, perhaps add a few pale blues and lavenders. “Trailing Purple” Lantana with its small fragrant leaves and soft lavender flowers creates drifts of coolness, spreading 3 to 6 feet. Blooming in summer are upright clusters of “Imperial Blue” Plumbago with its large periwinkle blossoms. Yet another option is “Purple Skyflower,” a tall shrub sporting pendulous clusters of royal purple flowers.

For xeric gardeners, this sale will also have a large selection of cactus and succulents, as well as the usual bargain-priced “orphans.” Additionally, on hand will be Green Valley’s Master Gardeners to answer gardening questions.

Spring is nearly here, so think about your landscape. Stop by and let this large assortment of colorful plants fill you with gardening enthusiasm!

Mary Kidnocker is a University of Arizona Master Gardener who lives in the Green Valley area. Her articles are featured weekly.

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