Author Archives: tedmanzer

About tedmanzer

I grew up in Old Town Maine and got a B.S. at the University of Maine in Plant Sciences/ minor in Botany. From there I moved to West Virginia and earned a M.S. in Agronomy at WVU. I also met my wife there. She grew up in rural WV as the daughter of tenant farmers who raised cattle and hogs. Their lifestyle at times was one of subsistence and I learned a lot from them. I've always been a foraging buff, but combining my formal botanical knowledge with their practical 'Foxfire-type' background opened up my eyes a little more. I now teach agriculture to high school students at Northeastern High School in Elizabeth City, NC. My wife teaches with me and we make a great team. I also write a weekly nature/foraging column for the local paper (dailyadvance.com). I also have written several Christian nature/adventure novels that I plan to publish eventually. One is a five book family saga I call the 'Forgotten Virtues' series. In the first book, Never Alone, a young boy comes of age after his father dies in a plane crash, and he has to make it alone. Never Alone is now available in paperback, Kindle and Nook. The second book, Strange Courage, takes Carl from his High School graduation to his recovery from a nasty divorce. The third book, Second Chances, takes Carl from his ex-wife's death and the custody of his son to his heroic death at age 59. The fourth book, Promises Kept, depicts how his grandchildren react and adjust to his death. In the final book, Grandfather's Way, his youngest and most timid granddaughter emerges from the shadow of her overachieving family and accomplishes more in four months than most do in a lifetime. I use many foraging references with a lot of the plants I profile in these articles in those books.

Yellow poplars are great shade trees but can also pose problems


Yellow poplars (Liriodendron tulipifera), also called tulip trees are tall straight fast-growing trees with great fall color. Trees often attain heights of a hundred feet or more. They also require little or no pruning to develop a uniform and dense … Continue reading

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Giant puffballs are common and nearly impossible to misidentify


Those who know me know I’m paranoid about leading foragers astray, especially mushroom hunters. Recently, someone asked me to identify a picture of a mushroom in her yard, and it was a giant puffball (Calvatia gigantea) They’re common this time … Continue reading

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Fatsherdera is a versatile artificial cross


I guess you could call it a GMO. The plant is an artificial combination of two entirely different plants. They are in the same family but not even in the same genus, let alone the same species. It is a … Continue reading

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Green Lawns in Winter


If you want a green lawn in winter, you have two choices. The first is to have a tall fescue lawn. That can be a challenge in summer considering the extreme heat and drought we have faced in August and … Continue reading

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Some wild birds rely on people


There are over three dozen species of sparrows and roughly 75 percent of them can be found in North Carolina. Most inhabit open areas with a few trees. Some have distinctive calls. However, there is one sparrow never found truly … Continue reading

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Writing spiders are spinning their webs everywhere


I’ve always called them writing spiders or yellow and black garden spiders. Other names this arachnid goes by are the banana spider, the zipper spider, the black and yellow Argiope, and the golden orb-weaver. They’re called writing spiders because of … Continue reading

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Viburnums are underused native landscape shrubs


Last week I discussed hydrangeas. This week I feel it is only appropriate that I cover viburnums. Many people confuse these two groups of shrubs since they have many similar features. There are numerous different species of both, but far … Continue reading

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