By Steve Bender
Steve Bender Santa Hat
Credit: Judy Bender

For most people, December is a month of happy year-end reflection on events that have made life sweet. Not for me, of course. Grumpy prefers to call out offenders who shamefully curtailed his garden bliss this past year. You know who you are. Now the rest of the world will know too.

Offender No. 1

Southern Living for unjustly terminating The Daily South blog and moving my popular "Grumpy Gardener" column over to Faithful readers who were unable to find my blog posts anymore thought I was dead and were in a terrible state of despair. I assure you: I'm not dead. You can still read my weekly wisdom at the aforesaid web address. Editor in Chief Sid Evans, you are on notice.

Offender No. 2

Disgraceful neighbors who refuse to cut their grass and trim their bushes, giving the impression that what they're cooking up in the basement with the windows papered over is not based on a tasty Southern Living recipe. Take pride, people, or take it down the road! Don't make me have to come over there.

Offender No. 3

An imported pest called the emerald ash borer that may well prove as destructive as chestnut blight, Dutch elm disease, citrus greening, hemlock woolly adelgid, and Formosan termite. This borer has already killed millions of ash trees and may eventually wipe them out completely. It also attacks our native fringe tree and—worse—has set its sights on olive trees. What? No more extra-virgin olive oil for my fried hot dogs with ketchup? This catastrophe cannot stand!

Offender No. 4

Once again, no artificial Christmas trees were used in the December issue of Southern Living. What snobs! Don't they realize that many thousands of people can't have real trees indoors due to allergies? Artificial trees are so much better anyway. You pay only once. You don't kill anything. You haul it home in a box rather than on top of your car, where it invariably blows off and smashes the windshield of the police car behind you. It already has lights, doesn't need watering, and doesn't drop needles. Plus, you don't have to spend hours on your knees fiddling with those stupid bolts in the stand trying to get the dang thing to stay straight. You can buy scent sticks to give it that Fraser fir smell. And when the holiday season is over, your tree goes back in the box and not to the landfill. It makes me want to sing: "O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree—you ought to be artificial."

WATCH: Grumpy's Best Reader Questions

Offender No. 5

Lazy readers who continue peppering me with questions I've already answered in the title and text of the article. I could publish a post called "How To Make Hydrangeas Change Color," painstakingly explain the whole process step by step, and by the time I've scrolled to the third comment, someone will have already written, "I would like to change the color of my hydrangea from pink to blue. How do I do that?" Now this is when my face turns green, my eyes start to glow, my chest bursts out of my shirt, and I snarl menacingly, "Don't make me angry. You won't like me when I'm angry." Just read the article!