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.

Angel trumpets love the summer heat


  We’ve had some beastly hot weather recently, and many landscape plants are suffering. One that isn’t is angel trumpet (Brugmansia sp.), a member of the potato family. Angel trumpet plants grow to the size of a large shrub, but … Continue reading

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Elephant ears make an interesting addition to your garden bed


Elephant ears (Colocasia sp.) are that plant with the huge heart-shaped leaves that look like they belong in a tropical rainforest. That’s probably because they do. They are native to Southeast Asia. These peace lily and caladium relatives are one … Continue reading

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Dill is a useful herb, but many people struggle to grow it


Everyone has eaten dill pickles, by themselves or in salads or sandwiches. Some love them and some may not, but dill (Anethum graveolens) is a spice often overlooked. Many folks try to grow it in their herb gardens with varied … Continue reading

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Remembering a past Mother’s Day


My father passed away last June, so this is my mom’s first Mother’s Day without him. I know it will be difficult for her. They were married for nearly 64 years. When I was a kid, Mother’s Day usually signaled … Continue reading

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All pollen is not created equal


  I took a relaxing boat ride on the Perquimans river recently and noticed copious amounts of tree pollen floating on the water. I suspect much of it was from bald cypress trees since most loblolly and longleaf pine pollen … Continue reading

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Cilantro is a versatile herb with a long history


Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is an annual herb used in numerous recipes from various cultures. It’s also known by different names, including coriander, Mexican parsley and Chinese parsley. It’s been cultured for at least 5000 years. Many Egyptian tombs contain seeds … Continue reading

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Comfrey is a plant of many misconceptions


Pick up any book on poisonous plants and comfrey will be in it. It is an old-time herb that has been used for centuries for various things. Some folks eat it. Some make tea. Some make topical medicines from it. … Continue reading

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