With help from ‘The Grumpy Gardener,’ you can prepare for spring | The Bookworm

Normally, you’d never allow it.

Holes in your yard? No way! Trenches near your garage? Nuh-uh, except in the spring, when you start thinking about hostas in those holes, tomatoes in the trenches, daisies in the divots. Oh, how you love a garden, and with “The Grumpy Gardener” by Steve Bender, you’ll get a shovelful of ideas.

Larry, Mary, Geri, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? If you’re frowning now, remember that even the most dedicated, experienced gardener has a dud now and then but there are ways to minimize that. Steve Bender has ideas.

The first thing you’ll want to know is your zone, which is not at all new-agey. Growing zones are delineated areas that indicate average low winter temperatures; you’ll need to know your zone to know where a plant might thrive or die.

On that last note, you’ll find the “Grumpy” in “Grumpy Gardener.” There are many garden and landscape plants that Bender wishes would just die. Here, find a list of the Five Most Awful Plants; reasons why you don’t want a river birch, cottonwood, or weeping willow in your yard; and why you should never move next door to someone who adores bamboo.

If you hate critters in your garden, learn what bulbs they won’t eat, what they like, and how to get rid of pests altogether. Read how to use a chainsaw the Grumpy way, and how to get your plants ready for winter. Find a way to love dandelions and know what not to plant if you have pets. Teach your teens to grow kale, then send them to college with plants that thrive on neglect. Scratch the surface on poison ivy mythology; see why sycamore trees are good if you’re a kid; and learn why kudzu could become more than just a weed someday. Get useful lawn ideas, tips on fertilizer use, mulches to avoid, and organic methods to embrace.

And finally, relax: says Bender, a dying plant is God’s way of telling you to try again…

Will silver bells or cockle shells grace your yard this year — or do you struggle to keep the lawn green? Either way, you can’t help but laugh about it when you put “The Grumpy Gardener” between those greenish-brown thumbs.

And yet — don’t be thinking this is all fun and geraniums. There’s humor inside this book, but author Steve Bender is serious about gardening, planting, and caring for greenery. The advice you’ll get is sound and useful, including sidebars in a Q-and-A format and chapters on things that may seem only barely garden-related until you need to know them. Also helpful is when Bender recommends alternatives – what to grow, for instance, if your Minnesota rhubarb hates Texas climate – and better ideas to make your garden glow.

Though much of this book is set in Zone 8 (the South), there’s still plenty of advice and a few challenges for Northern, Central, and Western gardeners. If that’s you and you’re itching to plant, get “The Grumpy Gardener.” You’ll really dig it.

[flipp]

More in Life

Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon and Page Carson Foster. Photo credit Washington State Legislative Support Services
Carson Foster serves as page in Washington State House

The following was submitted to the Reporter: Carson Foster, a student at… Continue reading

Matt Kidd. Submitted photo
True strength has no limits

Covington resident Matt Kidd shares his story about kidney disease to help others during National Kidney Month.

Submitted photos from Kela Hall
Inspiring young women

The KD Hall Foundation honored Women’s History Month by having empowering and… Continue reading

Two commissioner positions available this year

For The Reporter The Tukwila Pool Metropolitan Park District (TPMPD) is a… Continue reading

Photo courtesy Tukwila Police Department’s
                                Facebook page
Tukwila Fire raises more than $8,000 for the LLS Stairclimb

The crew climbed up 69 flights of stairs at the Columbia Tower in Seattle.

Troop 398 newest Eagle Scout presentation

The Tukwila Historical Society is pleased to announce our volunteer and Tukwila… Continue reading

Submitted photo from the Seattle Seahawks
Seahawks Tre Flowers visits Tyee

He went there to present a $10,000 grant to the school

Measles outbreak: Officials urge vaccinations

Editor’s note: Measles is highly contagious. If you think you or your… Continue reading

The Tukwila Historical Society has been the location for the Japanese Sister City Gift Exchange Exhibit for the past several years. The city of Tukwila had many of the artifacts in storage and by joint effort it was decided to place the items in the museum for all to enjoy. For a viewing of the exhibit, please feel free to contact the Tukwila Historical Society to arrange a visit. Photo by Louise Jones-Brown
Japanese influence in the Duwamish Valley

In 1907, prior to Tukwila’s incorporation, the T.S. Unos family arrived from… Continue reading

For whodunit lovers, this short story is a gleefully-dark delight

Growing older is a very good thing. First of all, there’s a… Continue reading

Winter safety tips

The Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office give safety tips about the winter weather.

Search no more, you’ll want to read ‘Hero Dogs’

You felt like such a loser. It was a feeling that didn’t… Continue reading