Steve Bender
Steve Bender grew up in Lutherville, MD and was exiled to Alabama in 1983 for reasons that remain secret to this day. He loves fried okra and often selects dinner wine based on whether it goes well with fried okra. His mission is to make gardening uplifting, accessible, and inspirational to all. He will no doubt succeed. Follow him on Twitter: @grumpy-gardener. Also on Facebook: facebook.com/SLGrumpyGardener.

Recent Posts By Steve Bender

Dumb Fun — Electric Bug Zappers

A crackling flame lit up Harvey’s chortling face from ear to beer. “Woooo, Vern, did you see that one?” he called to his buddy sucking down another Bud Light. “Man, looked just like a dang grease fire. Think we just fried a bat!”

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The Only Good Place For A Weeping Willow

Courtesy of my friend, Seattle garden blogger and garden designer, Christina Salwitz, you are looking at the only kind of place a weeping willow should be planted. On the banks of a pond or lake. Nothing else around. With the owner’s house, driveway, sidewalk, pool, water lines, septic tank, pet cemetery, and all the neighbor’s houses a zip code away. […]

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Why Your Tree Fell Down

I remember the first time I noticed that tree in our neighborhood. A rotten strip of flaking bark ran straight up one side for 15 to 20 feet. “That tree could snap in half and fall on their house at any second,” I grumbled grimly to Mrs. Grumpy. “If it were mine, I’d have it taken down right now.”

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Blanket Flower Has Summer Covered

Every garden I care to own must contain flowers that supply dazzling, nonstop color from spring to fall with very little effort from me. This summer’s star is a carefree perennial that does all of the above without impinging on my sacrosanct cocktail hour. It’s called blanket flower.

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When Should You Fertilize Crepe Myrtle?

Faithful reader Lee asks, “When should I fertilize my crepe myrtles? They are old and about 25 feet tall. They never get pruned and don’t bloom the way I would like them to.”

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Feel The Burn! Five Fiery Flowers For The Fourth!

This first week of July is a cherished time for all of us, when we celebrate our independence from those scoundrels in England, consume mass quantities of barbecue and beer, and enjoy hilarious videos of idiots blowing their brains out by setting off fireworks from atop their heads, thus purifying the gene pool. In between, it is still prime time […]

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Sweet Potato Vines — The Best “Spillers” Ever

Anyone who’s gardened in containers for long knows the magic formula — for an effective container, you need a “thriller” (upright, showy plant), “fillers” (mounding plants on the sides), and “spillers” (trailing plants that cascade over the sides). And there can be no doubt that the most popular thrillers of all are the many selections of sweet potato vine.

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Go Bold With Elephant’s Ear

Are you one of demure people who always hides in the back and hopes not to be noticed? Then stop it. Right now. In order to get anywhere in life, you need to attract attention. You can start with your garden. Plant elephant’s ear. There is nothing subtle or shy about it.

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5 Great Flowers For Brown Thumbs & Butterflies

You desperately want beautiful flowers in front of your house all summer long and yet you haven’t acted. You’re not an expert, after all, and what if you pick the wrong flowers and they die pathetically and the neighbors snicker and you feel like a total loser? Fear not, faithful reader! Once again, Grumpy will save you. Here are five […]

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Controlling Fire Ants — What Works, What Doesn’t

It’s a rule here in the South. Following a heavy rain on Sunday, on Monday your yard becomes a death zone dotted with little red clay volcanoes — fire ant mounds teeming with satanic assassins just itching to sting you and any other animal they can find. I truly believe this is why Karen Carpenter sang, “Rainy days and Mondays […]

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