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

What’s Wrong With My Hydrangea?

French hydrangeas may be water hogs, but extended periods of wet weather can cause them big problems. Suddenly, their pristine leaves become spotted, scorched, and dusted with powder. People in the South have every right to panic, but instead they wisely call on me to diagnose the ailments and provide solutions. Once again, Grumpy delivers.

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Say Hi To Joe-Pye

  Confess. One look at this plant makes you desperately desire it for your garden. Would you still lust for it if you knew its true common name ends with the word “weed?” The mere possibility of that made Grumpy erase the word from the headline. That’s because you need a stately, native plant that butterflies crave and makes onlookers […]

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New Threat To Crepe Myrtles

Faithful reader, Charles, writes, “I have a problem with my crepe myrtle that started about three weeks ago. There are long worm-like things of a sawdust consistency coming out from the trunk. The trunks with these things are losing their leaves. I believe they are due to a kind of Asian beetle. I have not seen anything that cures the […]

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Why It Never Rains At Your House

These are the times that try gardeners’s souls. Fearsome August will take possession of our weather for a dreadful 31 days. Hydrangeas will melt. Tomato plants shall shrivel. Lawns will combust. Not everywhere, though. Just where you are. To understand why, you must do as Grumpy did. You must talk to the clouds.

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Why Red-Tips Die in the South

Jeremy, a faithful reader from Nashville, writes, “When we moved into our house two years ago, our driveway was lined with 6 enormous red-tip photinias. Since they were taking up driveway space, we had them pruned in the early spring of 2015. That summer they were covered by their signature red leaves and looked healthy. However, this summer has been […]

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10 Finicky Plants That Ain’t Worth The Trouble

We all lead busy lives (except for you, you bum, and you know who I mean), so we can’t afford to waste a single minute on something that just doesn’t work. This applies to gardening. How many times have you toiled and fretted over a plant that wasn’t worth a Ramen noodle? You and everyone else need to stop that […]

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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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