Gardening

A New Look for the Laidback Gardener

Top of page of the new Laidback Gardener web site.

Welcome to the new Laidback Gardener web page. If you’re a regular follower, you’ll see it has been completely revised. It has a more modern, brighter look, improved services (hopefully) and the possibility of making a donation to “support the cause,” etc.

After 7 years and well over 2,000 articles (there is a blog posted daily, 365 days a year, on the Laidbackgardener.blog page), it was time to take a second look. My son, Mathieu Hodgson, who first pushed me into writing a blog and prepared the original model, also did the update. He’s not a web page developer per se, but is certainly more knowledgeable about the possibilities than I am. Count on me to write texts about gardening (I’ve written thousands of them the nearly 40 years I’ve been working as a freelance garden writer) and to “fill in the blanks” on a template (text, photos, etc.), but setup? Nope, that’s Mathieu.

New Features

You will see several changes in the new Laidback Gardener website.

First, the rather dark garden green background color is now sparkling white. The opening photo has also been updated: the original dated back some 20 years, when my mustache was still red.

The menu is now at the top of the page, immediately after the title. 

The main menu, in a sidebar on the left in the original, is now at the top of the page, after the title. If you are on a narrow page, such as a smartphone, clicking on the three bars that appear at the top right of the page will give you access to the menu.

In the menu, you can click on:

  • About (if you want to know who the laidback gardener is);
  • Books (to see short descriptions of some of my books);
By clicking on Lectures in the menu, this page will appear.
  • Lectures (to book a conference for your association);
  • Agenda (to see public activities where I am present … although there aren’t many these days due to coronavirus restrictions);
  • Contact Us (if you want to reach me);
  • Links (some of my favorite gardens and activities).
Click on the article summary to read the latest post.

In the center of the page, under Latest Posts, rather seeing the full post of the day which slipped out of sight well below your screen most days, there is a summary of the article of the day and of several of the previous days, so you can choose the article that interests you the most. Just click on it to read it! At the very end of this column is the Older Posts button which allows you to view even older articles, in reverse order of their appearance.

Obviously, you only have to click on the summary of the article of your choice to access it.

You now have access to Search, Sign Up, Donate to the Laidback Gardener and Categories via the side menu. On a narrow screen, they’ll appear at the bottom of the page.

On the right, if you are on a big screen (a computer or tablet, for example), there is now a side menu with, at the top, a much more accessible Search button: you can search for the subject of your choice among the 2,300+ articles on the site. On a narrow screen, such as a smartphone, this information appears at the bottom of the page.

This button is followed by a space where you can subscribe to the blog: Sign up to the blog by email, something that was somewhat difficult to find in the original version, but is now prominently featured. If you don’t see this menu on the left due to the limited width of your screen, you will find it at the end of the page. Just add your email and click on the Sign up here button to subscribe and receive the blog free every day.

What’s really new is that it’s now possible to donate to the Laidback Gardener blog. You’ll see a space entitled Donate to the Laidback Gardener with you can “support the cause” and help me share my passion for gardening around the world by making a small payment to show your appreciation and support. 

About the Donation

I invest about 35 hours of effort in this blog each week which is, as far as I know, the only daily blog in the world in the field of horticulture. If not, it is certainly the only daily blog being run by one single person. Until now, the only income I made from the blog was a small amount from advertisements … perhaps about $125 a month, certainly well below the minimum wage. Instead, I pay for the blog out of my personal income made from another 35 to 45 hours of work each week: lectures, book sales, articles I write for magazines and newspapers, horticultural translation, and, yes, my old age pension. Someday, I hope to be able to say the blog is self-sufficient. Your donations will be, I hope, a step in that direction. So, give generously … and often!

Finally, there is, at the end of the side menu (or at the very end of the page, if applicable), now a Categories heading followed by the Select Category button. Click on it and you will be taken to a scroll bar listing 169 categories, from Buy Plants to Perennials, which you can use to research information among the 2,300+ gardening articles available there.

And there you go! A completely renewed blog and one I’m very proud of! I hope you enjoy it!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

8 comments on “A New Look for the Laidback Gardener

  1. Christine Lemieux

    Congratulations on the new look! I enjoy your articles.

  2. Gads! That is too much work for too little compensation! I mean, that is not even justifiable. Yet, it is better than I get now that the only newspaper that used to pay for my weekly column no longer does so. I just can not stop doing it. I really should refine my page. I have not yet contacted a web page designer, and do not intend to until my other work slows down. (It is a long story, but I have been waiting to return to work for a few years, while instead getting to enjoy my ‘temporary’ work . . . which I can not justify keeping either. Yes, long soap opera style story.) My posts are not really blog posts, but articles from the gardening column split into two parts (main topic and featured plant, both of which are rather brief). Thursdays and Fridays get old articles. I used to write fresh for Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday, but no just recycle old posts. I would like to refine it all like yours, but just can not justify it while still working. That is one of the problems with enjoying work too much.

    • I still get paid for my newspaper column, at least. The blog is a work of love.

      • Oh, I know how that goes. I do not put so much into the blog, but the gardening column is still important to me, even if it is not as locally customized as it used to be.

  3. Would you be interested in doing a zoom presentation to a Kiwanis (volunteer service) Club of Naperville, IL? Due to the virus, we have suspended our bi-weekly in person meetings. The group consists of about 65-70 members, mostly retired. There might be interest in how us older folks can still enjoy gardening, tho not so much the heavy duty digging we used to do. Maybe something on composting and/or container gardening. Perhaps saving money by taking cuttings of favorites, like coleus before the first frost, and having several years of a hobby that is less expensive. We are in Zone 5. Glad to finally see the face behind the great blog post!

  4. Nice new look. Good blog.

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