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

Prune Crepe Myrtle Like Your Dogwood

A reader writes asking a familiar question: “My crepe myrtle grows so huge on the top and blooms like crazy, but the bottom doesn’t seem to be keeping up with the top. It really looks top-heavy. Am I doing something wrong? What should I do?”

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Five Hot Bloomers For A Hot, Dry Summer

Temps here in central Alabama are stuck in the mid-90s. No relief in sight. This drives up my AC bill, water bill, and beer bill. Can’t do anything about the first and third bills, but I can about the second — choose flowers that love heat, bloom all summer, and sip water instead of chug. Check out these five Grumpy […]

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#1 Secret To A Pretty Lawn

You want a pretty lawn, so your neighbors won’t talk about you. (They will anyway, but let’s continue.) But you hate all the watering, fertilizing, and disease and weed control that producing one requires. So I’m going to give you an easy out — the single, best way to produce that thick, green carpet your neighbors will resent AND decrease […]

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What’s Attacking My Killer Tomatoes?

Yes, it’s the beginning of that wonderful time of year, when you go out to pick that first delicious tomato after people like me told you tomatoes were so easy to grow. But instead of finding luscious, red fruit, you find something that makes you want to slap a baby seal. Don’t do that — it’ll show up on YouTube […]

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Gardening Gone Mad: Meet the Tomato-Potato Plant!

Who among us hasn’t been bothered by the fact that when we grow a tomato plant, it produces just tomatoes? Wouldn’t it be much better if that plant grew both tomatoes AND potatoes? Well, happy day, now there’s a Franken-plant that does just that! From the top, you harvest cherry tomatoes, while the roots produce a bumper crop of spuds. […]

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10 Awful Weeds and How to Kill Them

What is a weed? A weed is any plant that’s growing where you don’t want it. Some weeds are ugly. Some are pretty. But nearly all share the nasty habit of growing out of control, coming up everywhere, and making you want to shut yourself in a dark room watching Wendy Williams trash Hollywood celebrities. That’s bad. How can you […]

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The Best Trowel I’ve Ever Used

Ask any gardener what’s the most valuable tool they own and they’ll probably say a trowel. That makes sense. You use a trowel for planting a myriad of things, from annuals and perennials to bulbs and even small shrubs. You use it for carving holes in the ground, unearthing weeds, and filling pots with soil. It’s the one garden tool […]

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Serve Up Some Sunchokes!

Gardening and cooking often involve leaps of faith. Yesterday, Judy and I spent the morning browsing all the various booths at the Farmer’s Market at Pepper Place in downtown Birmingham. I love farmer’s markets. They have so much stuff and much of it is pretty weird. As Forrest Gump so eloquently put it, “You never know what you’re gonna get.”

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Morning Glory Turns Brown Thumbs Green

Does your tree-of-heaven consider your yard hell? Does your resurrection fern refuse to rise? Does your prayer plant even have one? In other words, are you a horribly incompetent gardener who most plants rightly fear? Well, let’s turn around that sad situation by growing a lovely vine that’s simple as can be. 

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Three Great Flowers To Plant Right Now

I don’t care what’s atop your docket of things to do today — perform brain surgery, bury your dead cat, or track down who’s been texting your husband at 2 AM — blow off all of that stuff and do something much more important. Plant these three flowers now. That other junk can wait.

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