Profile: Steve Bender

The Grumpy Gardener

Steve Bender is Senior Writer at Southern Living and has been with the magazine since 1983. In addition to producing, writing, and editing gardening articles geared to a beginning gardener audience of more than 2.5 million subscribers, he edited The New Southern Living Garden Book, The Southern Living Landscape Book, and The Southern Living Garden Problem Solver, and co-authored the award-winning Passalong Plants. Steve also writes regularly for his blog, “The Grumpy Gardener” (1.6 million page views per year), the Grumpy Gardener Facebook page (13,000 likes), and SouthernLiving.com (12 million views/month). He has won many Quill & Trowel awards from the Garden Writers of America and in 2005 was presented the Horticultural Communication Award by the American Horticultural Society. He holds a B.A. in History form Washington College in Chestertown, MD and a Certificate in Ornamental Horticulture from the Institute of Applied Agriculture at the University of Maryland.
http://thedailysouth.southernliving.com/category/the-grumpy-gardener/

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NoteStreams By Steve Bender

Get Healthy! Eat Some Dandelions

Dandelions have a bad reputation among those who want grass that looks as uniform as a golf course, but every part of this common edible weed is tasty both raw and cooked, from the roots to the blossoms.

Category: Health

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One Messy Son Of A Birch

The following trees aren’t bad choices everywhere, just bad choices for the average residential yard. (They may be fine for parks or the woods, though.) I’ve listed the reasons why for each.

Category: Gardening

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Avoid These 6 Mistakes When Buying Tomato Plants

Finally - Spring is here, and that means it's time to plant tomatoes. Yes, tomato plants are everywhere right now, but don't make these six mistakes when you go out to bring your plants home.
Trust me.

Category: Gardening

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7 Things You Must Know About Stupid Squirrels

Squirrels are the bane of human existence. Everyone accepts this. Yet many are unaware of crucial issues related to dealing with these insufferable fluff-rats that can hopefully one day lead to their total annihilation. Therefore, Grumpy answers seven critical questions that millions of squirrel-haters are asking today.

Category: Gardening

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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.

Category: Gardening

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Try Some Trilliums

Among all the woodland wildflowers of eastern North America, trilliums rank high among people’s favorites. Named for their three-petaled spring flowers sitting atop whorls of three leaves, they’re found all the way from northeastern Canada to central Alabama and Georgia.

Category: Lifestyle

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How To Kill Your Amaryllis

I think you’ll agree with me that growing beautiful plants gets old after a while. Wouldn’t it be great if someone came up with an easy way to kill them? They have! Now you can buy amaryllis bulbs coated with wax in a rainbow of festive colors! I mean, what says Christmas better than a bright yellow amaryllis bulb destined to shortly die?
Grumpy is tearing up now.

Category: Gardening

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Why Monarch Butterflies Are Doomed

Remember when monarch butterflies filled the skies, flitting from flower to flower? Nowadays, you hardly see any, and environmentalists are very concerned. They say that unless things change, this beautiful creature may very well be the first insect to go extinct in our lifetimes. The trouble is, they keep pointing to the wrong cause.

Category: Gardening

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Behold The Man-Eating Mum

In what appears to be the first case of its kind, forensic investigators have determined that a gardener missing for two days was consumed by a giant chrysanthemum.

Category: Gardening

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Don’t Covet Thy Neighbor’s Peonies

Does the sight of spectacular perennials adorned with fragrant blossoms up to 10 inches across in a variety of colors leave you feeling bitter, angry, and victimized? If so, you may suffer from a behavioral syndrome psychiatrists call “peony’s envy.”

Category: Gardening

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Lichens Don’t Kill Your Trees

Here’s a question Grumpy gets all the time:
“My tree is dying! It has all of these greenish-gray patches on the trunks and branches. What is this disease and how can I get rid of it?”

Category: Gardening

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Practically Fool-Proof Persimmons

Remember growing up with native persimmon, the tree whose orange fruit if picked and eaten too early in fall would make you pucker up like Presidential candidates during the visit of Pope Francis? Well, I’m here to tell you about a better persimmon that is so easy to grow, so pretty, and so productive that everyone who can grow it should. And the one I have bears fruit that’s sweet.

Category: Gardening

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Why I Hate Fall by Judy Bender

And you thought I was grumpy. I have just been informed by my lovely wife Judy, that fall is her least favorite season. “I hate fall,” she states as I start to feel faint. Grumpy LOVES fall! How can anyone hate it? Here are her reasons.

Category: Gardening

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Pumpkin Mania

October is the time of year when ordinary, rational people lose all perspective and go nuts over pumpkins. Naturally, we at Southern Living enjoying fanning the flames of gourdomania, so you see pumpkins on the cover of every October issue. We also print pages on actual pumpkin paper that turn your skin permanently orange.

Category: Gardening

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What’s That Black Gunk On My Plant?

Just when it’s nice to go out and explore the garden again, you discover that your gardenia, crepe myrtle, and other plants have this ugly, black gunk plastered all over the leaves and stems. Did some maniac get loose with the roofing tar?

Category: Gardening

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6 Trees You Should Never, Ever Plant

Fall is the best time of the year to plant a tree, but look before you leap. Some trees are nice. Others are monsters. Here are six monsters you should never, ever plant in a residential neighborhood, lest you earn your neighbor’s hatred and Grumpy’s scorn.

Category: Gardening

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Watch Out For This Sweet Autumn Menace

It’s pretty. It blooms at a time when few vines do. And you can smell its sweet, vanilla fragrance from yards away. But if you plant it, be forewarned. You’ll soon have it pretty much everywhere.

Category: Gardening

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6 Things All New Gardeners Should Know

Young people today are afraid of gardening. They say it’s “hard,” “mystifying,” and “intimidating.” They don’t know where to begin and they’re terrified of making a mistake. To those who shrink in fear at the prospect of tearing open a seed packet lest they suffer a paper cut, let Grumpy comfort you with 6 things all new gardeners should know.

Category: Gardening

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Saucy Salvias Save September

September is usually a terrible month to photograph gardens. All the summer flowers are burned up and the fall flowers have yet to kick in. But Grumpy’s garden is kicking butt, thank you very much, thanks to some great new salvias in our Southern Living Plant Collection, available in better garden centers throughout the known universe.

Category: Gardening

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Pet Your Praying Mantis

Looking for an unusual pet? One that doesn’t bark, shed, need shots or a litter box, and will look you straight in the eye with obvious affection? Then you need a praying mantis!

Category: Gardening

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Not Your Mama’s Butterfly Bush

Butterfly bush has been a Grumpy favorite for many years, because it blooms for months, offers many different colors, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, and sings “My Way” when I’ve had four or more beers. Lately, though, plant breeders have been making a good plant even better in three important respects.

Category: Gardening

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A Better Rose Than ‘Knock Out’

No doubt about it, ‘Knock Out’ rose has been the most successful plant introduction since marijuana. Millions upon millions have been sold to people looking for constant color with zero maintenance to the point where it’s hard to find anyone growing a rose that isn’t ‘Knock Out.’ But perhaps for the average homeowner, there might be something better.

Category: Gardening

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5 Nice Shrubs For Summer Blooms

Summer is a time when you want lots of color in your garden, but you don’t want to work at it. You need plants that bloom when it’s stinking hot that fool your neighbors into thinking you’re a much more active gardener than you really are. These five shrubs are your ticket to a summer of glorious lethargy. Let the deceit begin!

Category: Gardening

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