Garden Friends: Steve Bender from Southern Living Magazine

Garden — By on March 18, 2013 6:12 am

Steve Bender Front Garden1 (2)

Because so many gardeners I know are doing such inspirational gardening I wanted to introduce you to them. In 2013 I am building a series of posts all about garden friends who are interesting, amazing, and have great garden stories to tell. Here’s my friend Steve Bender -

Steve Bender is one of the funniest garden curmudgeon’s I have ever met.  Ridiculously comical, completely opinionated, and a downright genius with plant horticulture, he is one of my favoriteSteve Bender with violin garden writers and someone you must get to know. Based on his wry sense of humor and forthright approach to gardening, Southern Living Magazine has titled his blog “The Grumpy Gardener”, which a MUST READ if you are a gardener with a passion for the story of plants.

I originally met the wise-cracking Grumpy (as he’s affectionately known by his friends) on a bus ride through Arkansas on the way to a P. Allen Smith event and was blown away by his plant knowledge and fantastic sense of humor. As well as being a regular writer for Southern Living Magazine, he is also an accomplished editor, book author, and family man. Passalong Plants, which was co-authored with Felder Rushing, is one of the funniest and most creatively written garden books in print and is a great reflection of both his plant knowledge and his sense of humor. I highly recommend you pick up the book for a great garden read.

Grumpy is  a delight and his gardens are gorgeous – you see a photo from his home garden above (top). Grumpy is also a family man and a great friend who knows how to enjoy a garden or glass of beer with equal abandon. Below is one of my favorite Grumpy quotes from Pruning Azaleas – When & How:

Steve says — “There is nothing more frightening to a beginning gardener than the prospect of pruning something. Facing down a charging grizzly with nothing but a spit ball pales by comparison. Pruning azaleas, for example, has sold more Prozac than divorce.”

You can find Grumpy online on Facebook and, of course, at his Grumpy Gardener blog. Get over to his blog and meet Steve Bender – my favorite Grumpy -  to learn all about gardening with an endless sense of humor.

Steve Bender and Shawna Coronado

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20 Comments

  1. Thatis one scary looking guy! As you can see, Shawna has already located the nearest exit.

  2. Felicia says:

    Grumpy is totally cool. I especially enjoy his annual crepe murder contest. Passalong plants is one of the top five garden books I recommend to any new southern gardener. And Steve’s other book, Southern Living Garden Book, is one that must be owned for reference.

  3. Pam says:

    I love this article I see this all the time. You take the Mow and go guys when they trim trees that should never be trimmed. Thanks for the interesting read.
    Pam It makes me crazy too.

  4. La McCoy says:

    Lovely! Thank you!

  5. Why the nick “Grumpy”? What is the story behind it?

    Oh wait, I should ask this on his blog :D

  6. The grumpster! Don’t let him fool you, he’s a sweetheart behind all that grumpiness. <3

  7. I love the way you convey thoughts and present your materials. Cool pictures. Thanks for sharing

  8. Mohankumar says:

    Very nice pictures. Lovely good. Sharing is very well..

  9. Steve, I know you have many requests but I would love to see you do an article on my sister and brother in law’s beautiful yard. Sue Hancock has MS and James had lung surgery about 5 years ago, they still have the most beautiful yard at Funston, GA. 717 Kendallwood Road, Moultrie, GA 31768 If you could see it, you would agree with me. I know people in the deep south would benefit reading about them and their achievements. Sincerely, Charlotte Dunlap, 114 Margie Court, Hoschton, GA 30548. 706-658-2636

  10. Barb Fagan says:

    Hi Steve,
    I help arrange programs for Sun City at Hilton Head Avant Garden Club with a membership of over 400.
    Love your column and would truly love for you to consider sharing your knowledge, humor and wit, with the club. We have monies for a fee and could share you with other organizations on the island :)
    Barb Fagan (843) 707-7010

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    You must proceed your writing. I am sure, you have a great readers’ base already!

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