The Grumpy Gardener

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


Grumpy Is Back! How’s Your Elephant?

Faithful readers, Grumpy has returned from his perilous diplomatic mission to Asia safe and sound! He knows you were terribly worried about his welfare, but assures you that aside from a little Confucius Revenge, he is fine. Thanks to everyone who entered Crepe Murder 2015. Judging will commence immediately and the results will make at least 10 of you famous.

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Crepe Murder 2015 Is Open For Ugly Business!

Glorioski! Crepe Murder 2015 has arrived at last to the joy and disgust of millions! The past three contests have witnessed some truly horrific examples of how to ruin beautiful plants, but there are so many more sickening crimes to be reported. And who will be reporting? You. My legion of wise and discerning fans who can no longer stomach […]

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Quick Fix For An Awful Yard

Question from a new reader: “Dear Grumpy, We are newlyweds and have just moved into a new house. The only problem is that the yard and garden areas are atrocious! We don’t know where to begin to deal with it. What are some quick and relatively inexpensive additions that will make our lawn and garden the talk of the neighborhood […]

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Get Ready for Crepe Murder 2015!

It’s that most wonderful time of the year! Football is over, bored husbands aren’t sober, and crepe myrtles are near! It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Yes, Crepe Murder is back for its fourth incredible year, all made possible by two things — ignorant men armed with loppers and pruning saws and vigilant, sneaky readers like you armed […]

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Poinsettia After Christmas — Now What?

You loved your poinsettia during the holidays, but (news flash!) the holidays are over. Now your plant is starting to look a little sad. One overarching question courses through your brain. What am I supposed to do with the dang thing now?

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Why Your Ficus Tree Just Dropped Its Leaves

There’s a good reason why another name for a ficus tree is “weeping fig.” That’s because if you own one, sooner or later it’s going to make you cry.

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Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest — The People Who Top Trees

The season is upon us, so watch out. Any day now, some unemployed, middle-school graduate with a borrowed chainsaw and a mud-caked pickup is going to knock on your door and say¬†you have a problem that needs fixing. Those big trees of yours need shortening bad. If you say yes, not only will you be fleeced of a couple of […]

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Winter’s Prettiest Holly

In the midst of gloomy winter, my eye searches for color. Usually it comes from flashing blue lights on the police cars behind me, but not today. On a visit to Aldridge Gardens in Hoover, Alabama, I spotted a blaze of red at the edge of a pond. The source is a very special holly. Winterberry.

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Don’t Let Cold Kill Your Plants

The TV weather people are giddy right now, because after a boring year with hardly any hurricanes or tornadoes to terrify us with, now an Arctic blast is poised to freeze America’s hiney off. And not just in Minnesota, where thousands of folks lose their hinies every winter. In Mobile, the temp dropped to 20 degrees this morning, sufficiently frigid […]

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Who Wants to Kill Violets?

Violets are such sweet, little wildflowers that it’s hard to believe that anyone other than Dear Leader would want them dead. But believe it or not, Grumpy regularly receives requests for advice on how to eradicate these gentle plants. Has the world gone over to the dark side?

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