“Hello there! My name is Linda Manley, and I live in a Valley in rural Pennsylvania with my husband, Jon. I have always been a country girl, and one of my passions is gardening!”
What inspired you to start gardening?
My grandmother loved to garden, and my mother too. But I seemed to have no interest. For me, it was all about houseplants. I loved them and had lots of them! I can remember at one point having 60 plants in the living room alone. That being said, I remember having friends over one day, and I had vintage irises growing in front of the old farmhouse I was living in. My friend told me my iris rhizomes were all bound and needed to be separated and replanted. She then proceeded to pull them out of the ground. I remember thinking to myself... “What on earth is she doing? What is she talking about??” I do believe that was the beginning of my interest in gardening, and those irises are in my gardens today.
Describe your garden.
My gardens have evolved over the years. I initially planted landscaping in front of the house, but the deer destroyed everything. My home seemed to be built right in their pathway. It was common to see a dozen to two dozen deer in the yard all the time. At one point, it became so out of control that they came right up on the side porch and ate the fresh greens, and even the faux red berries, right out of my Christmas box! So we started over, with the help of a landscaper, and then decided to put a fence around our entire home. That has been our only salvation from the deer.
From there, I continued to create more and more garden areas, both inside the fence and outside the fence along the woods, along the driveway, and in the yard.
My husband loves rocks, so we have incorporated a lot of large rocks in our landscaped areas. And, my father worked in demolition for a time, and over the years brought me many unique pieces and vintage items that I use as garden art. He also built my little cottage in the lower garden, at the age of 80, using mostly repurposed materials from his salvage days.
What has been your biggest gardening fail?
I truly believe that my biggest gardening fail was not knowing when to stop. I just kept creating more and more garden areas, and now it is a bit overwhelming. It takes 90 yards of mulch to cover our gardens, and that is a lot of work.
How have you used Wave Petunias or Cool Wave Pansies in your garden?
I love Wave Petunias, and I use them in my container gardens! I typically do 30-40 containers each year and use Wave Petunias in most of the planters that are in sunny locations. I usually use the purple/wine color, as I am very fond of jewel tones. With just the right amount of pinching and care they get larger and fuller as the season progresses! I always mix them with other annuals and perennials, and they can be amazing spillers!
What’s one piece of advice you would give a beginner gardener?
Don’t be afraid of where to plant something, because you can always change it! In the past I have labored over where to plant this or that, and then it died or didn’t grow like I thought it would, and I replanted or moved it anyway! It is really easy to overthink things!
What would you tell someone who has never heard about Wave Petunias?
They are wonderful and will provide constant, vibrant color in your garden and in your containers all season long! A planter is not complete without Wave petunias! They are absolutely stunning in my container gardens.
We adore your garden aesthetic. It could be the setting of a romantic movie! How did you come up with this stunning look? Did it grow over time?
Thank you so much for that!! I have always loved romantic things... pinks, purples, magentas, and jewel tones... and roses, peonies and hydrangeas! And yes, it has absolutely grown over the years! One of my main focuses right now is my roses. I adore them, and what could be more romantic? I have thought about hosting a wedding or weddings in my back garden, and the bride walks through the rose garden. I have these gorgeous vintage candelabras. Wouldn’t that just be perfect??
Are you able to incorporate your love of vintage décor into your garden?
Oh my yes, absolutely, and that is with garden art! I love birdbaths, large and small, statues, gates, wheels, arbors, fencing, etc. All of it is romantic, and a lot of it is vintage!!
What is the best part about life in the country?
Oh my goodness, where do I begin? Everything! The mountains, the fields, the green grass, the birds singing, the deer, the gardens, the peepers in springtime, crickets in summertime, katydids at summer’s end, evening walks... everything!!!! It is beautiful, intoxicating, invigorating, peaceful, and calming. Yes... all of the above!!
Do you have any other hobbies?
Yes! I adore plant-based living and started a group in my hometown. Although we haven’t met during the pandemic, we did gather once a month to have potlucks, interesting speakers, cooking demonstrations, documentary viewings, etc., etc.! And, I love to foster homeless cats and kittens, tame them if necessary, and rehome them! It is incredibly rewarding! I also love photography, and antiquing!
Yes! Three cats… Pootsie, Punkers, and Babies. Pootsie is my garden kitty, and he follows me everywhere I go in the garden.
Do you know any gardening jokes? If so, tell us one.
No… I truly do not!!! Hahaha! I wish I did! But, I can tell you a joke that my husband played on me!! One day I was looking out the kitchen window and noticed blooms in the rose garden! It was well beyond the end of the season, and I couldn’t figure out what I was seeing! I went outside, walked towards the garden, and could see roses blooming. However, I said to myself… “Now wait a minute... I don’t have a red rose planted there, and I don’t have a pink rose planted here! And then I realized that my husband had somehow stumbled across some faux roses and tied them to the top of my rose bushes… hahaha!! And, of course, he was watching and videoing me as I discovered it all… 😊
Tell us something that most people don’t know about you.
Haha! Well... I could tell you how I started my rose garden. I was shopping at Aldi’s one day, and they had rose bushes on clearance for $1 each. Now, there is one thing I cannot pass up, and that is a bargain plant in my colors!!! A good number of the plants in my garden have been bargain plants in the clearance section! So, I bought seven rose bushes at $1 each and brought them home. I can still see them sitting there propped up against the fence. I really knew nothing about roses, and I had nowhere to plant them. So, my husband decided to create a rose garden for me. By the time it was done, most of the roses looked very sickly, and some of them died. But, the rose bug had bitten me, and I have never looked back! I love everything about them… the romance, the beauty, the blooms, the colors, the fragrance! And, I love to photograph them!! I have learned how to care for them as I go, and I’m still learning!