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.

More in Life

Healing chronic pain: Regenerative medicine clinic opens in Federal Way

Dr. David Velling has specialized in pain management for two decades

American Crown Circus comes to town | Federal Way Community Calendar

Online calendar: Check out the Mirror’s online calendar at events.federalwaymirror.com/cal. Circus: The… Continue reading

Members of GFWC Sokico Women’s Club held a Bunco fundraiser and membership event July 21 Pantera Lago Clubhouse in Kent to raise money for a Federal Way K-9 cop. Sokico members provided food, beverages, prizes and a GFWC program with visual poster boards for 25 guests - plus special guest and speaker Officer Kyle Buchanan of the Federal Way Police Department and his K-9 officer Kaiser. Kaiser was the hit of the event with his favorite toy ball on a leather tether, as he paced around the room for all to pet and play. Officer Buchanan displayed some training techniques with Kaiser and answered many questions from the guests. The funds raised will purchase a new Storm Patrol swat vest for the newest K-9 officer on the Federal Way Police Department, Vader, who recently turned 2 years old and is ready to be fitted for his new vest. To date, the club has raised $1,200 toward the purchase of Vader’s vest. Donations are welcome. Contact Linda Butcher at 253-927-6636 or ibslinda@comcast.net.
                                Storm patrol: Members of GFWC Sokico Women’s Club held a Bunco fundraiser and membership event July 21 at Pantera Lago Clubhouse in Kent.Sokico members provided food, beverages, prizes and a GFWC program with visual poster boards, for 25 guests plus special guest and speaker, Officer Kyle Buchanan of the Federal Way Police Department and his K9 officer Kaiser. Kaiser was the hit of the event with his favorite toy ball on a leather tether, as he paced around the room for all to pet and play. Officer Buchanan displayed some training techniques with Kaiser and answered many questions from the interested and entertained guests. Then it was on to the business of playing Bunco, and awarding the winning prizes. Door prizes were also given to the lucky names drawn. The funds raised will purchase a new Storm Patrol Swat Vest for the newest K9 officer on the Federal Way Police Force, Vader, who recently turned two years old and is ready to be fitted for his new vest. To date the club has raised $1,200 toward the purchase of Vader’s Vest, so if anyone feels so inclined to help us out with this project, we’d gladly appreciate your support. Contact Linda Butcher, 253-927-6636 or ibslinda@comcast.net for information on the project or the General Federation of Women’s Clubs.
Federal Way Community Calendar

Farmers Market: The Federal Way Farmers Market is open from 9 a.m.-3… Continue reading

Flavor of Federal Way celebrates more than just food

By Greg Baruso Living in the Pacific Northwest, one can’t help to… Continue reading

The magic of Federal Way’s diverse food scene

As a writer, I’ve always been drawn to things that tell a… Continue reading

Dive into the story of the average gig-employee

Your allowance was never enough, as a kid. Oh, sure, it bought… Continue reading

You won’t be disappointed when diving into “The Sinners”

The appointment is on the books. It was made a long time… Continue reading

The 111th annual Rinehart Family Reunion was held June 28 to July 1 at Dumas Bay Centre in Federal Way. This year’s event had a gathering of 84 relatives and was hosted by the Alisa and Dina Johnson family. The first reunion for the family was held in 1903 in Summerville, Oregon. Over the years, reunions have been hosted in California, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Oregon, Utah and Washington, according to Federal Way resident Walter “Bill” Turner. Their ancestors Lewis and Elizabeth Rinehart had traveled the Oregon Trail from Tennessee via Iowa in 1854. Photo by W. Kent Johns
Backpack giveaway, Repair Cafe, arts festival and more | Federal Way Community Calendar

The Mirror has a new online calendar. Check it out at events.federalwaymirror.com/cal.… Continue reading

Local volunteer’s backpack project helps children in Dominican Republic

By Emmy Sandstedt, For the Mirror Despite their own troubles, the women… Continue reading

Most Read