more about: Trees and Shrubs

Why Your French Hydrangea Never Blooms

Like a lot of Grumpy’s faithful readers, Heather in Raleigh wants to know why her French hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla — the one with blue or pink flowers) always looks green and healthy, but never blooms, even though it gets plenty of sun and water. Our email exchange reveals the probable cause.

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Reclaiming An Overgrown Yard — Part 2

Last weekend, Mrs. Grumpy and I took a first crack at clearing the jungle in the front yard of first-time homeowners, Tom and Ashley. They bought the house from a little old lady who hadn’t done any yard work for about 10 years. If we thought the front was a nightmare, the back yard was worse. Yet so unselfish and […]

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Reclaiming An Overgrown Yard

My stepson, Tom, and his fiancee, Ashley, just bought their first house. They were excited, but also intimidated by the overwhelming tasks that awaited. For 10 years, the little old lady who sold the house hadn’t cleaned inside (she had pets in there — hazmat suits required) nor trimmed anything outside. What plants should Tom and Ashley remove? What should […]

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5 Great Trees For Small Spaces

People love planting trees in their yards, but often forget how big many trees grow. Soon what began as a sweet, little yard ends up looking like the Black Forest. But not if you follow Grumpy’s advice and plant smaller trees for small spaces. Here are five excellent candidates that won’t swallow your property or your dog. Small Tree #1 […]

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How To Mend A Broken Branch

Faithful reader, Karen, writes, “The recent snow split one of the main branches of my crepe myrtle. Do I need to cut off that branch or can I repair it somehow? Cutting it will ruin the tree’s symmetry.”

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Pruning Big Boxwoods — When & How

Faithful reader, Gail, asks, “What is the best way to cut back or prune two very large boxwoods that are on each side of our church entrance steps? They are at least 6 feet tall and 6 feet wide. They are very old and we don’t want to get rid of them.” Other readers want to know how to prune […]

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Get Ready for Crepe Murder 2016!

That Most Wonderful Time of the Year is nearly upon us! That time when mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, cats, dogs, and hermit crabs sneak around the neighborhood, smart phone in hand, to record egregious and embarrassing acts of crepe murder committed by those ignorant, benighted folks down the street! Why? To post photos like this one to humiliate them before […]

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Don’t Feed Azaleas With Poopy Water!

Faithful reader Carol Dowd in San Augustine County, Texas, is annoyed with her Encore azaleas.  “Not only are they blooming, they’ve grown five inches straight up since I gave them a haircut in June. They were supposed to be only 4 to 5 feet tall, but now they’re acting like they want to grow over the house. My husband is […]

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Grumpy’s Crystal Ball Reveals New Gardening Trends for 2016

Grumpy’s gift for prognostication never fails to awe his faithful readers. As Fanny Aster of Hoppy Toad, Kentucky puts it, “He can see into the future with both eyes closed.” Once again, the Oracle of Opelika graciously shares his gift of augury with the legion of curious Fannies who depend on his foresight with the following bold predictions for Gardening […]

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What Record Winter Warmth Means For Your Plants

Grumpy loves eating dinner in the fresh air on his screened porch. But in late December? In shirt sleeves? 77 degrees? This weather is weirder than Donald Trump donning a sombrero and singing “Feliz Navidad” with a mariachi band. And though your plants are smiling now, there could be dire consequences ahead.

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