Grumpy’s Crystal Ball Reveals New Gardening Trends for 2016

January 3, 2016 | By | Comments (7)
Crystal ball


Grumpy’s gift for prognostication never fails to awe his faithful readers. As Fanny Aster of Hoppy Toad, Kentucky puts it, “He can see into the future with both eyes closed.” Once again, the Oracle of Opelika graciously shares his gift of augury with the legion of curious Fannies who depend on his foresight with the following bold predictions for Gardening 2016.

Prediction #1The weather will suck. Depending on where you live, there will be tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, withering droughts, blinding blizzards, unrelenting heat, unexpected freezes, month-long drizzles, pummeling hail, and soaking humidity. Big deal. Get on with your gardening. The weather is never nice.


Hopefully, this won’t be your garden. But it could! Photo:

Prediction #2. Japanese persimmons will rock your world. If you live in the Middle through Coastal South (USDA Zones 7-9), this is the fruit tree for you. It’s easy to grow, highly productive, never needs spraying, and develops gorgeous orange-red fall foliage. Grumpy harvested over 30 pounds of apple-crisp, sweet fruit from a single, 8-foot tree this fall! Good mail-order source: Petals from the Past.


Japanese persimmons. Photo: Steve Bender

Prediction #3. Crepe murder will continue. People everywhere will mindlessly chop off the top of the South’s favorite tree,  thinking that this makes it bloom better. The practice will spread to other trees too — Bradford pear (no loss there), red maple, flowering cherry, magnolia, and even (I feel an artery popping in my brain) Japanese maple. The only benefit of continuing crepe murder is that it will provide plenty of fodder for my annual Crepe Murder Contest that’s coming up in February. Be still my pounding heart!

Crepe murder

Crepe murder — the unkindest cut of all.                            Photo: Steve Bender

Prediction #4. Natural/biological/organic pest control products will soar in popularity, as retailers recognize consumers want environmentally safe products that work. Grumpy is able to control almost every insect and disease pest in his garden using just three products — Natria Disease Control (it uses the beneficial soil bacterium, Bacillus subtilis), neem oil (an insecticide/fungicide made from the tropical neem tree), and spinosad (an insecticide manufactured by another beneficial soil bacterium discovered in an old rum distillery). Grumpy would have named it “Rum Punch,” but wit is at such a premium these days.


This widely available product contains spinosad. Too bad it’s not named, “Rum Punch.”

Prediction #5. One of you will email me, “My snake plant is blooming! My snake plant is blooming! You should do a story on it! Have you ever seen such a thing?” Well, yes — yes, I have. All of my snake plants bloom. Every year. The trick is to give them plenty of sun, even though they’re famous for tolerating low light. Also, don’t repot too often. Snake plant likes confined roots. So sorry.

Snake plant

Snake plant in bloom! Photo: Steve Bender

If “seeing a snake plant bloom before I die” headed your bucket list, cross it off now! Replace it with “Meeting Grumpy in person.” Now there’s a lofty goal!


  1. Karlene Brzozowski

    Grumpy recommended a garden hose in the March or April issue. Can you tell me the name of the hose. Thanks.

    May 10, 2016 at 1:26 pm
  2. Vicki Reed

    I hope a trend is the use of native plants. I suggest Grumpy read Doug Tallamy’s The Living Landscape. It changed the whole way I view gardening. People need to be planting more to sustain the web of life. Saw a presentation by Tallamy where he showed a nest of dead baby chickadees surrounded by sunflower seeds. Chicks needed native bugs but because there were none parents could only bring seeds babies couldn’t eat so they starved to death. A native oak sustains over 300 caterpillars while foreign trees sustain few if at all. If a plant isn’t feeding something (people or animals) it’s pretty useless. Foreign plants are like pretty statutes in the garden. Okay to have a few but only as accents not the basis of the whole yard. Over 90% of typical yard are plants from Asia. That needs to be reversed.

    February 13, 2016 at 3:04 pm
  3. Tony
    January 25, 2016 at 12:41 am
  4. Ida Beth Barner

    Can I just take my amaryllis bulbs and plant them out side to bloom in the spring and leave them there.?

    January 11, 2016 at 9:21 am
  5. Suzanne

    What do you predict for pecans this year? I recently bought a small property with a large old pecan tree on it . It has lots of green pecans in clusters on the tree but they fall around Halloween and never develop fully. I

    January 4, 2016 at 2:29 pm
  6. Kathy Fitzgerald

    Okay, Grumpy got me! My snake plant of 10 years did bloom for the first time in the summer of 2015! Freaked me out….didn’t know it would do that!

    January 4, 2016 at 7:07 am
  7. Susan Gailes

    Why, yes, I would like to meet Grumpy in person! I so appreciate your quick answers to questions on Facebook and all of your articles. Thank you.

    January 3, 2016 at 10:26 am

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