The Grumpy Gardener

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


Daylilies Are Easy

When my friend and former Southern Living photographer, Mary Carolyn Pindar, recently posted this daylily photo on Facebook, I told her I was totally going to rip it off for my own uses. As Grumpy is a man of his word, here it is. You can see why both she and I love daylilies. You don’t have to stick to […]

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Just Say No To Rubber Mulch

The world’s resources may be finite, but the supply of stupid ideas will never run out. A stupid idea currently making the rounds is solving the problem of millions of used tires piling up by grinding them into little pieces and using them as garden mulch. Hey, what could possibly go wrong?

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How To Kill Bamboo

Some people love bamboo, but far more people loathe it. That’s because they plant this fast-growing, fast-spreading monster as a screen so they can’t see their neighbors. Then in about two weeks, they can’t see themselves either. Bamboo comes up everywhere, until they cry in desperation to Grumpy, “How can we kill this damn bamboo?”

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Meet & Garden With Grumpy In Charleston!

You love Grumpy. You love Charleston. What better way to spend a weekend than by meeting and gardening with the Grump in Charleston? Be still your fluttering heart, it’s true! As part of Southern Living‘s 50th Anniversary Celebration, its editors (including me) will descend on the Holy City June 10-12 to host exciting events involving gardening, shopping, entertaining, homes tours, […]

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Kill Those Root Suckers!

You’ve done the right thing. You’ve cut down that stinking Bradford pear. But you didn’t remove the stump and roots. So now a million suckers are sprouting from the spot. Lord-a-mighty, what’s a homeowner to do? Let Grumpy explain. When you cut down trees, some grow back and others don’t. Needle-leaf conifers, such as pines and spruces, almost never grow […]

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The Perfect Perennial? Bearded Iris

How hard is it to find a perennial that takes hellish heat, bitter cold, plus withering drought and STILL produces powerfully fragrant flowers in a rainbow of colors every spring for the rest of your life? Not hard at all, really. Just ask for bearded iris.

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Get Healthy! Eat Some Dandelions

If the sight of bright yellow dandelions dotting your otherwise perfect lawn drives you batty, blame it on the Pilgrims. It was they who reportedly brought the plant to America from its homeland in northern Europe in the 1600s. What else would you expect from guys wearing belt buckles on their hats? 

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Are Monarch Butterflies Doomed?

More than three million species of insects exist in the world and people hate just about all of them. We therefore take note when one particular insect, the monarch butterfly, earns universal love and widespread concern. Monarch populations are noticeably declining, so we have to ask: If things keep going the way they are, could monarchs go extinct?

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One Messy Son Of A Birch

Faithful reader Penny asks, “Is there anything more messy than a river birch? I’m constantly raking leaves and picking up branches. Any suggestions for this devil?”

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Avoid These 6 Mistakes When Buying Tomato Plants

WAHOOOOOO!!! It’s spring! And that means people are calling in sick or faking their mother’s funeral so they can get off work, rush to the garden center, and procure their tomato plants. But before buying yours, steer clear of the following common mistakes that could well make a funeral seem like a happy event.

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