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) and frequently publish articles in several other newspapers in northeastern North Carolina. 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.

Scouring rush is a unique wetland plant with landscape potential


They are not overly common around here, but scouring rushes can add a different texture to a perennial garden. Some people know them as horsetails. The scientific name of Equisetum hyemale has a horse-like ring to it. It’s not by accident. … Continue reading

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Ironweed is a dreaded pasture weed with ornamental potential


My father-in-law would turn over in his grave. Ironweed is now a highly promoted ornamental perennial plant in many garden centers. He spent much of his life trying to get rid of it. Ironweed (Vernonia sp.) is a tall perennial … Continue reading

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Evergreen bagworms are a major problem in our landscapes


A short time ago I received an email encouraging me to write about bagworms. I haven’t written about them here and they are quite evident now so I’ll gladly address the subject. There are numerous types of bagworms, but the … Continue reading

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Rediscovering the sweet pawpaws


Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is a native fruit that is common but easily overlooked. Nearly every fall people ask me about these curious fruits but they’re often hesitant to try them. Ripe fruit are shaped like green link sausages. They have … Continue reading

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Fall vegetable gardening can be a productive pastime


It seems most vegetable gardeners look forward to spring for their home grown produce. I won’t argue with that but fall is a great time too for many reasons. Assuming water is available in late summer, seed germination should be … Continue reading

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Here in the south, fall is a great time to landscape


We are all accustomed to planting in the spring. There are many reasons for this, but is it really the best time for long term plant survival? I guess that depends on a lot of things. There is no easy … Continue reading

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More and more people are discovering lemongrass


When we think of herbs, usually culinary uses come to mind first. We generally learn about other values later. Lemongrass is a fine example and the name fits. You can’t miss the lemon scent. Lemongrass contains chemicals used to repel … Continue reading

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