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

Grumpy’s 32 Tips For 32 Years

Today marks the start of Grumpy’s 33rd year of not being fired from Southern Living. I know, I know — how could any organization overlook more than three decades of sarcasm, bad taste, poor judgment, and blatant snarkiness? I still remember my first day on the job. I was 10 and had to sit on what was called a “telephone […]

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A Better Rose Than Knock Out

No doubt about it, ‘Knock Out’ rose has been the most successful plant introduction since marijuana. Millions upon millions have been sold to people looking for constant color with zero maintenance to the point where it’s hard to find anyone growing a rose that isn’t ‘Knock Out.’ But perhaps for the average homeowner, there might be something better.

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Not Your Mama’s Butterfly Bush

Butterfly bush has been a Grumpy favorite for many years, because it blooms for months, offers many different colors, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, and sings “My Way” when I’ve had four or more beers. Lately, though, plant breeders have been making a good plant even better in three important respects.

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Too Late to Prune Azaleas and Rhododendrons?

Peggy in Georgia has a problem. The rhododendron in front of her dining room window is taking over and blocking the view. It needs “a hard cut-back,” she says. She wants to know if she can do that now. The answer: it depends. 

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Mortal Combat — 5 Bad Bugs You’ll Battle This Summer

INCOMING! The following five awful pests will seek to utterly destroy both your garden and spirit this summer. How can you fight back against a voracious army that numbers in the tens of thousands? By reading this post and doing what I say. 

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Nifty Succulent Planter In 30 Minutes!

When your wife who has never gardened before suddenly announces she wants you to help her put together her first container garden, you should put down your beer and say yes. Not only will you nurture an interest that will forever enrich her life, it will probably persuade her not to end yours. With those thoughts in mind, I took […]

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5 Nice Shrubs For Summer Blooms

Summer is a time when you want lots of color in your garden, but you don’t want to work at it. You need plants that bloom when it’s stinking hot that fool your neighbors into thinking you’re a much more active gardener than you really are. These five shrubs are your ticket to a summer of glorious lethargy. Let the […]

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Does This Look Good To You?

Ask someone why they just chopped their crepe myrtle into stumps and they’ll usually say, “They bloom better when you prune.” OK, then. This one was pruned. Do you like the way it looks?

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Your Lamp Post Needs A Mandevilla — It’s The Law!

Attention, scofflaws! Grumpy has been making the neighborhood rounds seeing who is in compliance with Federal Law #5371365, Sect. A, Paragraph 6, Part 2, which states, “All mailboxes and lamp posts on private property in view of the street shall be used as supports for growing mandevilla vines during the summer.” And I have been shocked — SHOCKED — to […]

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You’ll Love This Lily

It happens every time. Just as I put to bed a brand new edition of The Southern Living Garden Book, somebody comes along with a great new plant. Since I couldn’t tell you about it in the book, I will tell you about it here. Behold Lilium ‘Kaveri’ blooming its bulb off in Grumpy’s garden.

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