The Grumpy Gardener

Get your garden growing with the humor and wisdom of editor Steve Bender. Ask a Question


How to Kill That %$!#@&! Mole

The one critter I get most complaints about is a mole digging up the yard. “How do I get rid of this agent of Satan?” Forget about Juicy-Fruit gum, gas bombs, poison peanuts, or any other solutions you’ve read about on the internet. Here is the only thing that really works.

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Should I Prune Off Crepe Myrtle Seeds?

Most people find the prospect of pruning only slightly less frightening than Carrie Fisher reprising her role as Princess Leia in the latest “Star Wars.” And one pruning question weighs upon them more than any other at this time of year. Should I prune off the seeds from my crepe myrtle?

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Why Can’t I Grow Killer Tomatoes?

When you have lavished your tomato plants with water, fertilizer, and love, love, love, it’s so disheartening when all the tomatoes develop disgusting black spots on the end. What causes this — fungus, Monsanto, the pharaoh’s curse? As always, Grumpy has the answer.

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Survive the Dog Days of Watering

Woof! It’s hot! It’s dry! And if you’re like Grumpy, you’re SICK TO DEATH of watering all of your plants day after day, only to come back the next day and have them looking wilted and pathetic like you were never were there. Here’s how you can keep them alive and looking presentable without running up a $1,000 watering bill.

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5 Bugs I’d Wipe Off the Face of the Earth

Mercy has always been one of Grumpy’s most endearing traits, but not when it comes to these five bad bugs. If the Big Guy granted me absolute power, I’d exterminate every single one of them right now.

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The New Spider Flowers — Good Just Got Great

  Bigger isn’t always better in gardening. Two new spider flowers prove the point. Their compact growth and continuous color make them two of the most impressive annuals Grumpy has admired this year.

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Don’t Eat Dirt

No matter the hobby or avocation, all of us benefit from the guidance of mentors in order to achieve success. In that vein, Grumpy shall never forget the best gardening advice he ever received. His mother told him, “Don’t eat dirt.”

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Why Won’t My Crepe Myrtle Bloom?

Right now, no one in the South cares about the meaning of life, sea level rise, or whether Beyonce will have another baby. (Yes.) All they want to know is how come my stupid crepe myrtle isn’t blooming while all of my neighbor’s are? There, there, don’t pop an artery. Let Grumpy help.

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6 Watering Mistakes You’ve Probably Already Made

My plants demand it, but I hate watering. Every minute I spend at one end of a garden hose is like a teaspoon of my soul being sucked into Purgatory. I loathe wasting water even more, which is something I see gardeners do all the time.

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Coming Soon! The Greatest Southern Gardening Book of All Time!

Incredibly wise gardeners who bought the last Southern Living Garden Book (above) published in 2004 are always asking me: “When are you going to revise it? A lot has changed in 10 years.” Grumpy has heard your pleas. And he is delighted to announce that an all-new, completely revised edition will set the world on its ear in January 2015!!!

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