Horticulturists Reeser Manley and Marjorie Peronto will present an illustrated talk on their book, "The Life in Your Garden," Thursday, June 1, at 6:30 p.m. at the Rockland Public Library, 80 Union St. Books will be available for purchase and signing after their talk.

"The Life in Your Garden" represents a major rethinking of North American yards and gardens and is a call to action for gardeners concerned about Earth’s biodiversity crisis. Manley and Peronto describe how to create gardens that will help stem the tide of species extinctions among insects, birds, amphibians, and other endangered creatures.

The authors recommend ecologically functional plants — native trees and shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and annuals — that will nurture a wide variety of garden wildlife. And they present numerous examples of insect-garden interactions to demonstrate that a garden can and should be a stable, self-regulated ecosystem in which insect herbivores are held in check by their predators. "The Life in Your Garden" shows why converting lawn to garden increases Earth’s biodiversity; keeping insect herbivores under control is not primarily the gardener’s job; it is the work of the predators (primarily other insects and birds) that an ecologically functional garden supports; every garden should include an insectary of plantings that nurture pollinators and other insects; locally native understory trees and shrubs form the bones of a garden that nourishes wildlife; if you want butterflies in your garden, provide host plants for caterpillars, as there is no such thing as an “adults only” butterfly garden; and much more.

Manley has gardened in South Carolina, Washington state (while earning a Ph.D. in horticultural science), Massachusetts, and, for the last 15 years, in Maine. From 2007 through 2015, he wrote about the garden in a weekly column for the Bangor Daily News. He taught courses in horticulture at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the University of Maine, Orono. In 2013 he retired from teaching chemistry and physics at a small high school on the coast of Maine to devote his time to gardening and garden writing.

Peronto, a professor for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, has been teaching courses in fruit and vegetable gardening, ecological landscaping, and pruning for 26 years. She is a resource among her colleagues on native and invasive plants of the Northeast. Peronto oversees Downeast Maine’s Master Gardener Volunteers Program, training individuals to conduct community outreach projects that promote sustainable gardening and food security. She has developed nationally recognized school gardening courses for teachers.

Manley and Peronto's previous book is: "The New England Gardener’s Year: A Month-by-Month Guide for Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Upstate New York."