Articles by Reeser Manley

 

Gardening for Wildness: Functional garden trees

on March 24, 2015, at 8:10 a.m.
It is the first day of spring as I begin writing this column while three feet of ice-impacted snow cover the garden.  From a window I can see the blanketed roof of a neighbor’s house, only 500 feet away, the expanse of white separated by the dark boles of pines …

Gardening for Wildness: Aphids, Treehoppers, and Garden Ants

on March 15, 2015, at 3:59 p.m.
The insect order Hemiptera contains several sap-sucking herbivores, including aphids, whiteflies, leafhoppers, treehoppers, scale insects, and true bugs, all familiar to observant gardeners.  By far the most represented members of this group in our garden are aphids, also known as plant lice.  Aphids seek out the new leaves and tender …

Gardening for Wildness: Garden Flies

on March 08, 2015, at 5:28 p.m.
When I was a boy growing up on the central Georgia-Alabama border, all doors and windows were screened and a fly swatter hung on a nail in most rooms.  Some folks, like Dr. Lenoir, head of the small biology department where I studied as an undergrad, eschewed the swatter in …

Gardening for Wildness: Garden Beetles

on Feb. 28, 2015, at 8:15 p.m.
Beetles are infamous creatures in the minds of most gardeners, mere mention of the moniker conjuring up memories of Japanese beetles devouring grape foliage, flea beetles shot-holing broccoli leaves, cucumber beetles, Colorado potato beetles, asparagus beetles, Mexican bean beetles, lily leaf beetles, corn rootworm beetles, viburnum leaf beetles, vine weevils, …

A Gardener’s Dreams of Sweet Peas and Summer Poppies

on Feb. 19, 2015, at 12:45 p.m.
February may have the fewest days, but it is the longest month for this gardener.  I have grown weary of winter, want to see the ground again, to plant a seed.  Most of all, I long to smell sweet peas in bloom and to discover where the pink Shirley poppies …

Gardening for Wildness: Garden Moths

on Feb. 14, 2015, at 9:14 a.m.
Far less conspicuous than butterflies are the thousands of North American moth species, their muted colors and nocturnal lives keeping most of them out of sight and thus out of mind.  I am was reminded of their existence, however, when I forgot to turn off the porch light one warm …

Gardening for Wildness: Garden Butterflies

on Feb. 08, 2015, at 5:52 p.m.
“Our fellowship with other creatures is real, our union with the creation is already achieved, because we all rise and fall on a single breath.  You and I and the black-footed ferret, the Earth, the sun, and the far-flung galaxies are dust motes whirling in the same great wind…Wherever it …

Gardening for Wildness: Garden Wasps

on Feb. 01, 2015, at 10:24 a.m.
“A recent tally of threatened species by the World Conservation Union lists more than a thousand mammals, nearly a quarter of all those we know, and more than a thousand birds.  Each year’s list is longer.  We can reverse those trends…by living more lightly and by making way for wildness …

A Sign of Life in the Winter Garden

on Jan. 26, 2015, at 4:58 p.m.
Walking through the garden after the big snow, the sun shining bright, the temperature in the mid-teens, I see few signs of life other than two crows in the top of a spruce tree, a mixed flock of pine siskins and chickadees at the porch feeders, a red squirrel perched …

“Rhody Says It’s Cold Outside!”

on Jan. 18, 2015, at 11:49 a.m.
Leaving the warmth of bed, my first stop each winter morning is a downstairs window that looks out on an old rhododendron, a pink-flowering catawba of forgotten pedigree planted years ago against the  north wall of our home.  “Rhody says it’s cold outside!” I announce out loud, even if only …

Milkweed Species for the Garden and Insectary

on Jan. 10, 2015, at 5:15 p.m.
Over the past several months, Marjorie and I have shared the past summer’s success in attracting monarch butterflies with readers of my weekly Bangor Daily News column (http://gardeningintunewithnature.bangordailynews.com/2014/09/02/ecologicaly-functional-garden/a-monarch-summer) and with gardeners who came to hear us speak on our favorite topic: “Gardening with Insects, the Little Things that Run the …

Tree Buyers Beware: Use the Scientific Name

on Jan. 05, 2015, at 10:17 a.m.
Two years ago, when a friend emailed that he planned to add a new tree to his garden, I asked if I could help and take photographs of the process, images I would use in a magazine piece on selecting and planting trees. He agreed and we decided on a …

Shrubs and Trees for the Garden’s Birds

on Dec. 29, 2014, at 9:59 p.m.
For as long as I can remember, I have been a birder. Going back over fifty years to my childhood in Georgia, I recall early mornings sitting with my father in front of the patio door, looking out on the garden through the wide expanse of glass to watch songbirds …

Avoid Deicing Salt Damage to Garden Plants

on Dec. 22, 2014, at 6:05 p.m.
With winter comes the potential for deicing salt damage to garden plants. Passing cars and snow plows spray salt-laden slush onto garden beds, winter buds of deciduous plants, and the needles of conifers. Salts slowly spread from driveways, sidewalks, and roadsides into nearby garden soil. Decisions made last May about …

Looking Ahead: Growing Your Own Vegetable Garden Transplants

on Dec. 14, 2014, at 9:25 a.m.
(Author’s Note: While growing your own vegetable garden transplants from seed begins in early spring, the gardener needs time to accumulate all of the necessary supplies. With this need in mind, I offer the following advice on growing your own.) For gardeners interested in growing transplants of heirloom vegetables – …

Birch Trees, Caterpillars, and Chickadees

on Dec. 09, 2014, at 10 a.m.
Most gardeners are delighted to see a butterfly sipping nectar from a flower in their garden, a delight that may be accompanied by a sense of accomplishment: “My garden is a butterfly garden!” Yet many of these same gardeners become alarmed by the sight of a caterpillar chewing the leaves …

Gifts for the Gardeners on Your List

on Dec. 02, 2014, at 1:16 p.m.
What would be the perfect gift for each of the gardeners on your list this year? I mean true gardeners, people with a passion for cultivating and nourishing the soil, gardeners who do their own digging and planting. What would they really like? Asparagus, Rhubarb, Berries, and a Good Cause …

Plant Milkweeds to Boost Garden Biodiversity

on Nov. 23, 2014, at 4:54 p.m.
Garden Biodiversity: The total number of species living in the garden ecosystem. Of course, garden biodiversity cannot be empirically measured as there are many thousands of microscopic species in both the soil and on the garden’s plants. The gardener can, however, keep a list of the macroscopic species found in …

Interplanting Increases Vegetable Garden Biodiversity

on Nov. 18, 2014, at 6:21 a.m.
(Author’s Note: Many of my columns for the coming winter months will be devoted to sustaining biodiversity in our gardens, both in the soil and above ground. Winter is the season to dream of next year’s garden, and this week’s column focuses on including interplanting in your plans for next …

The Garden in Winter

on Nov. 11, 2014, at 4:56 p.m.
(Author’s Note: The following essay is composed of excerpts from The New England Gardener’s Year by Reeser Manley and Marjorie Peronto, published in April, 2013 by Cadent Publishing and distributed by Tilbury House Publishers, Thomaston, Maine.) “As I write, snow is falling outside my Maine window, and indoors all around …
 
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