Gardening

Update on the Laidback Gardener Blog

Dear Readers,

If you’ve been used to receiving a daily gardening blog from the Laidback Gardener website (and, hopefully, enjoying that service), I may have to disappoint you.

I find myself in the hospital at the moment, and that is obviously going to slow down my output. Also, I have never really gotten into my health issues (I mean, it’s a gardening blog, after all, not the coffee corner at McDonald’s), but I suffer from a degenerative lung disease, pulmonary fibrosis. I was told 6 ½ years ago I had 1 to 2 years left to live.

I’ve beaten the odds so far. But I don’t expect I have much time left. I’m figuring months … but then, I’ve always been an optimist! Time will tell.

Not the End

That doesn’t mean this blog is coming to an end, though. I’m very passionate about it and want to keep it thriving. My son Mathieu has stepped in to help keep the blog going after my death, lining up people to help, finding additional sources of financing, etc. So, those annoying ads that break up the articles do serve a purpose: they keep the blog alive.

And your financial contributions, too, have been most helpful. Every little bit helps!

I’ve been preparing this blog largely on a volunteer basis, getting my income from other sources: writing articles for other publications, giving garden lectures, hosting TV and radio shows and leading garden tours. Most of these I’ve had to abandon bit by bit over the years (I had to resign from my final radio show last week, for example), but until this current health crisis, I was still writing for magazines, newspapers, other blogs, etc. I’ve decided to stop those as well to concentrate on this blog for the time I have left.

Expect a Less Responsive Editor

I’m also going to have to stop answering your gardening questions. I have done so generously over the years, but it’s extremely time-consuming. And, frankly, I just don’t have the energy to do it anymore. Mentally, I feel I’m still all there, but physically, I’m terribly diminished.

Maybe the answer to your question is already available?

I’m so sorry about that, but remember that there is a search button on the Laidback Gardener blog. Click there, add a few terms about your question (for example “slugs marigold”), and click.

There’s a very good chance the answer was already there, just waiting for you. After all, there are over 2,800 articles on the Laidback Gardener website, the result of 8 years of daily blogging.

I’m finding typing with an oximeter on my finger takes quite a bit more time.

So, expect some interruptions while we work through this transition period. Already, writing a blog from a hospital bed with a fingertip oximeter on my ring finger, gumming up my formerly superior typing skills, has slowed me down considerably. I do hope to be back home soon (without that #%&*?% fingertip oximeter) and that will make things much easier.

And maybe if I stick religiously to just writing the blog, I’ll actually have some time off for myself!

The Blog Will Go On!

So, there might not be a daily blog as in the past, but we (as I now include my son and a new helper, Julie Boudreau, who’ll begin contributing articles over the coming weeks, to be part of the editorial team) do want to see several blogs a week. Just how many, only time will tell.

Long live the Laidback Gardener blog!

Larry Hodgson
Laidback Gardener

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, laidbackgardener.blog will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

97 comments on “Update on the Laidback Gardener Blog

  1. Nancy weikart

    God bless you! Praying for comfort and strength to heal.

  2. Christopher Voss

    I discovered this blog and your online videos last year Larry, and they have become my favourite gardening go-to resource. I saw in recent videos that you had some medical equipment that you were using but it’s a shock to me that it is a serious illness. Sending you prayers for recovery. Thanks for all your contributions to the world of gardening. No need to reply.

  3. Thank you for all the great info you’ve shared. I have especially enjoyed the element of surprise — what off the wall yet useful tidbit will pop up on the laidback gardener feed next? God bless.

  4. Teresa P.

    Wishing you all the best, Larry, from down here on the north coast in Ohio. I discovered your blog a few years back and have learned and enjoyed your style. I’m sure your optimism and staying involved didn’t factor in to the doctor’s diagnosis. What a wonderful son to keep your legacy going.

  5. Cindy Marks

    Your solid, down to earth wisdom has been like a quiet library amongst the Amazons of gardening advice. Sending you so much appreciation for the giving and sharing! May you enjoy peace, love, and relaxation as you move forward.

  6. Dency Kane

    Hoping you go home soon, get that oximeter off your finger, and settle back into more comfortable surroundings.
    Thinking of you and your family.

  7. Ben Vincent

    I have been a long time reader and lurker. I just wanted to say this blog has meant a lot to me and I can’t thank you enough for starting it. You have touched my life in the best way possible! Thank you so much

  8. When I was a novice gardener I learned a lot from your Canadian Gardening articles, and I’ve researched your blog many times for answers. You’ve inspired and illuminated — and piqued the curiosity of countless gardeners with your work. A great legacy! Paix et bonne chance.

  9. Isabel Belanger

    All the best Larry! I’ve learned a lot from your blog and am glad to hear it’ll continue.

  10. Glen Spurrell

    Dear Larry
    Sending you and yours warmest thoughts and wishing you strength, courage and serenity. How I have enjoyed and profited from you blog over the years! Thank you so very, very much.

  11. Bryanna Keseloff

    I want to thank you for imbuing passion in a young and budding horticulturist. Back when I was first learning (2014, 2015, i think?), your blog was the one that I would come to the most, and the wisdom and education you provided was, still is, invaluable. It helped to inspire in me a deep love of plants and ecology, and I am now in the process of pursuing a career in horticulture, and possibly later even landscape design. I have learned so much from you, and even down here in Florida, your lessons ring true. I still have so much to learn, but I hope that one day I can inspire a love of horticulture in people the way you’ve done for me. From the bottom of my heart, Thank you.

    A Forever Student,
    Bryanna

  12. You are such an inspiration and your posts are so helpful. I often go back to look at previous ones. At least 2 or 3 a week are applicable to my garden. Your blogs have always been informative and well written. You can be very proud of what you have done here.

  13. Stephanie M

    Larry, I started following your blog after you spoke at the Cummings Centre Garden club online during the early days of Covid. Your wealth of knowledge and love of plants is inspiring and so very helpful. Wishing you all the best and continued time of beating those odds. Take care!

  14. I have learned countless things from you and your posts. For the daily learning experience you have provided, I send you a sincere thank you. I also send best wishes on your current health issues and hope you continue to beat those odds. Take care and know you made a difference in the gardening community that so many of us enjoy being a part of.

  15. Corry Oosterhouse

    Larry, I am praying for healing, strength and courage for you to keep fighting this disease! Thank you for your wonderful blog!, I’ve learned so much about how to care for my flower garden! God bless you!!

  16. Hey friend… I wasn’t aware that your condition had deteriorated so. It is painful to think of your bright, shining star dimming – of course much harder for you and for your family. .Please take care of yourself and give your lovely wife a hug for me. I’m thinking about you all and wishing you an easy transition to whatever comes next…

  17. Stay strong! May all the good things turn around and come back to you! Take care! Blessings,

  18. I must tell you Perennials for Every Purpose is still my favourite resource. It goes to every plant sale if I’m volunteering; it holds my notes on next year’s plans. At my house, it’s simply called “Larry” — as in, Did you bring Larry? What does Larry say? Websites are interesting, but Larry can’t be beat for reliability. Many, many, many thanks!

  19. janet anderson

    Best wishes, Larry

  20. Lorraine Flanigan

    Dearest Larry. You are indominable, and i wouldn’t expect less of you. You have been a delight to be with on many a GWA excursion. Thanks for your kindness to a newbie, chatting away to me on a bus ride to yet another great garden visit. Memories of your sense of humour, your optimism and your enthusiasm will keep your spirit alive for many of us. Bon chance on the next leg of your journey!

  21. David Prigione

    Larry, I am so sorry to hear of your hospital stay. I remember you giving us the news last December or January of your health situation and am amazed daily that you have the energy to keep your blog going with your personal touch. I know you now have help which is good to hear. Thank you for all that you have given of yourself for the benefit of others throughout these years. I have been a faithful reader of your blog each morning since I first discovered it more than a year ago. I wish I had discovered it much earlier. Larry, you even took the time to email me with an answer to my milkweed invasion last year and your advice worked. Thank you so much! I wish you all the very best with your health and know that there are many people out there that are praying and thinking of you.
    Take care,
    David

  22. Bonnie Sproat

    I’ve enjoyed your blog immensely over the short time I’ve been receiving your posts and have gained much knowledge from them. Thank you for your gardening passion and determination in face of your health concerns. I shall send good thoughts to the universe for you and your family.

  23. Thanks for all you time and knowledge. I do hope you continue to beat the odds. Thanks and good luck to your new team – they can give you time to rest and relax! Take Care!

  24. Denise Cowie

    Thinking of you, Larry, and hoping you find the strength to do what you love for as long as you can. You are an inspiration to so many.

  25. Jean Dendy

    Larry, I’ve attended your talks, read your books and read your blog posts every day for years. You’re my kind of gardener. Even though I only ever met you and spoke to you once, you feel like an old trusted friend. Thank you so much for everything you’ve given me. I’m so glad to hear that the Laidback Gardening empire will live on. Long live le Jardinier Parasseux!

  26. Kevin Phillips

    All best wishes, Larry, to you and yours. I am enjoying your blog (new to me this year) a great deal. It is really quite wonderful.

  27. Linda Hunt

    So sad to hear your health new. My prayers will be with you and your family.

  28. John H.W. Cole

    I too am a recent reader. I live in Vermont. You are an international someone special and have added to the lives of many. Please do what you can at your own pace, and rest with the realization that yours is a life well lived.

  29. Nora Cullen

    You enrich my life every day Larry.

  30. I really enjoy your insight & information, hope & pray you will do better soon.

  31. Tony Spencer

    Heartbreaking news. Your devotion to your blog and the world of plants is deeply inspiring.

  32. Carole Reilly

    Sending some heartfelt hugs- although they are missing the physical warmth that would naturally accompany them in person. Your optimism and sense of humour shine through in your wonderfully informative garden messages, Larry. Sweet memories of Karioke from so many years ago garden conferences .

  33. Lisa Steinkopf

    I’m so sorry to hear that, Larry. I enjoy your blog and hope to see many more.

  34. It’s said that someone’s life is measured by how much they leave behind. Your talks, lectures, books and of course, the Laidback Gardener have touched so many people and encouraged them to garden wisely. A rich life indeed! Thank-you.

  35. Jane Donelon

    Thanks, Larry, for all the info. you have shared and for sharing what you are going through now…your humanity. May your days be filled with peace and love.

  36. Bill Russell

    Hugs, Larry, to you and all yours.

    • Katherine

      You have created a treasure trove of information which I will refer to again and again. Being fairly new to gardening, you’ve accompanied my efforts for the last two years and reminded me that it’s supposed to be fun. And it really is! Life is richer with gardening in it, so what a rich life you must have. Wishing you a speedy return home to your lovely garden. Thanks Larry.

  37. Gardens tend to beat the odds. Gardeners too. Rock on Larry!

  38. Thank you Larry for working so hard for us for so many years, and for using your limited energy in the midst of this personal crisis to make sure the blog will continue with or without you. That’s dedication, above and beyond the pale. Huge admiration from this quite recent reader!
    I wish you joy and fulfillment in your next great adventure, on whichever side of the veil it occurs. God bless.

  39. May your hostas never get snails, may your roses never get fungus and may you live on!!!!

  40. aliceest65

    I’m so sorry to hear about your illness. Your definitely a very knowledgeable man on gardening and plants. You and your family are in my prayers ?. Don’t overdo it take time to relax and rest up. I’ve gained knowledge and plants from your great blog. May God ease your pain and comfort you and your family.

  41. You are a treasure, Larry, regardless of how many times your wonderful blog will be showing up in our inboxes from now on. You have made the world of gardening a much better place all these years. Your knowledge, creativity, and “laidback” philosophy has influenced my gardening practice, along with that of countless others. Please remember that, as you take care of YOU now. Thank you!

  42. Sheila Campbell

    I am so sorry to hear that you are suffering a setback. I too know what it is to have to give up and let go and face the reality that I can no longer do what I used to be able to do. It is hard. But it comes with the privilege of living long enough to fall apart slowly. I have very much enjoyed your Blog. Keep on beating the odds!

    • Cathleen Mahome

      Thanks for all you do! Long may you continue to beat the odds! I’ve started to collect your books as they also hold a wealth of knowledge. You have truly helped me in my personal quest to become a “laid back gardener”!

  43. Larry, I’m so sorry to hear about your crisis. This is terrible that you are going through this. I’m sending best wishes to you and your entire family. This is not an easy time for them. I, so enjoy your blog and look forward to it’s ongoing. Your knowledge and sense of humour are just the best. You have done an outstanding job. You have educated me on numerous occasions. Thank you. Stay strong my friend and God speed. You are in my prayers.

  44. Thank you, Larry. You have given us far more than fabulous gardening advice. You are an inspiration for courage, wisdom, and grace on your journey at this end of your life. All my best to you, Mary-Kate

  45. I am so very sorry to learn of your health issues. I fully enjoy the blog. I wish you and your family well and pray that God will help you beat the odds once again.

  46. Kris Sinclair

    I love your blog!! Hang in there and many thanks from California.

  47. Louise Guérin

    Ever time I’m in my garden, there is a time when I think: what would The Laidback gardener say Needs to be done. So sorry about your condition and wishing you strength, courage and peace! We will all carry on your work in our own way and corner of this land! Forever grateful ?

  48. I also found your blog in the last six months. And I find it so interesting. Thanks so much from. Minnesota USA

  49. I’m grateful that you’ve thought so much of your fellow man and the beauty of nature by working tirelessly on your blog. You’ve helped us surround ourselves with that beauty by teaching us to garden. A true legacy is not just making the world better, but teaching others to do so as well ? Concentrate on the things you love doing and being with the ones who bring you joy. Everything else is now the concerns for others.

  50. Thank you Larry for your dedication to and encouragement of gardeners. Your insights and humour are so appreciated. Please know you have impacted the gardening industry in Canada and will continue to teach many gardeners through your blogs and articles – THANK YOU!!

  51. Bon courage, Larry. You have already shown great courage, and beaten the odds; you may have a lot more time, but I hope, not much suffering. Thank you for your wonderful blogs.

  52. Dorothy Found

    Thank you so much for all your gardening info over the years. I have 3 of your books and have read them cover to cover many times. I have a green thumb because of you!! Your legacy will live on, and for me that will be your humanity, passion, and helpfulness.

  53. Christine Lemieux

    I am sad to hear your health has further deteriorated. I love reading your blog. It is such a wonderful resource for trusted gardening information and an enjoyable read. I also search on it frequently. I really appreciate your efforts to keep it going. It will live on! Please pass on a thank you to your son for his efforts. I truly wish your generous, optimistic self has time to enjoy life in your garden, perhaps in your hammock, this summer.

  54. Christine Roy

    Larry, You have been such an inspiration for me. I have several of your books, and always go back to them for reference. I love your blog and read pretty much every new entry. I hope your health improves and you. ‘ go hone and smell the flowers’!

  55. Mary Cane

    I am so sorry to hear this, and I am amazed at how prolific you are, despite your terrible hardship. Very impressive!! I will be praying for you. Thank you for your wonderful contribution to the gardening community.

  56. Praying that the peace that passes all understanding be in your heart through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

  57. I have been reading this daily for a long time and just love it. Sorry you are not well. I pray for your health and family. God Bless you

  58. Patrick Flaherty

    Sorry to hear of your health challenges. Sending wheelbarrow loads of positive energy your way!

  59. Thank you for all the great articles which I often reread. Wishing you the best Larry.

  60. Kay Verdone

    Thank you so very much . You are a blessing to gardeners everywhere they find your blog. I am praying for healing for you. I wish you a very good day. This is such a surprise to hear of your poor health. May you return to strength and enjoy every minute.

  61. I have enjoyed and learned so much from your blogs. May you return home..?. And continue to defy the odds.

  62. Deborah Dewar

    Holding you in my thoughts

  63. I am so sorry to hear this. May you continue to defy the odds!!!

  64. Dear Larry, thank you for letting us know. I’m so sorry to hear about your health issues and current lack of energy. Certainly a challenging time for you. A family member has been diagnosed with something similar and has had a certain amount of success with serrapeptase – although it might not be for everyone. I do enjoy reading your blog and have found many useful tips here. I’ve just planted some delphiniums and lupins. They were Dad’s favourite. Next door has got beautiful pink hollyhocks on the go. Take care and best wishes from the UK. x

  65. I also just recently found your blog and am so grateful I did ! Thank you for writing it !
    Im sorry that you’re having to go through the health issues you have. It looks like you’ve persevered before… keep going !
    I

  66. David Goldsmith

    Larry, you have been very generous with. Your time and knowledge for those of us who would have screwed up big time without you. Never give up hope there is something new in research every day. I wish you only the best

  67. I’m so sorry to hear about your health! I pray you return home to your family soon. Thank you so much for your books and your blog — you have been a truly irreplaceable resource. Your books on Annuals and Perennials have been the most used books on my shelf because you provide real life information about each plant, and because I’m in Vermont, I know your experience with the climate is very similar to mine. The book on Annuals, especially, is great, because so many of those flowers are not discussed anywhere else. This blog, too, should definitely be turned into a book or two, and I know you have a few books in French I’d love to read if they ever get translated….God bless you!

  68. Audrey Humphrey

    I have only just found you about 2 months ago. I love how easy it is to read and have learned so much from your notes and the pictures. I pray that you can continue to write and feel better. When God wants you, you will have to go – but until then I will enjoy all the work you do! Take care.

  69. Larry, I have been following your blog since I first attended a talk you gave many, many years ago on Ottawa. So sorry to hear about your health problemsI hope you continue to beat the odds for a very long time! Love and strength to you and your family.

  70. Mary Lou Dalaire

    Larry…I am so very sorry about your health conditions. I know YOU are a VERY STRONG person who loves his family and his fans and will do everything to KEEP STRONG!!! ?HUGS. Mary Lou. PS we still have a visit in the cards next time I get to QC…

  71. Thank you for getting us new gardeners off to a great start! Best wishes to you.

  72. Larry, your knowledge, generosity, and sense of humour are deeply appreciated.

  73. I’ve been reading your blog for a number of years now and I always look forward to receiving it every morning. It’s always so very informative, it has been part of my gardening journey! I thank you! I wish you and your family all the best.

  74. Wishing you well and thinking that you should take some time for yourself and your family. There is so much useful information in your blog.

  75. Ann Albano

    Dear Larry, You are an amazing man with a delightful sense of humor and an extraordinary breadth of knowledge of the plant world. I’m sure everyone around you is taking special care of you until you become one with the universe. Your blog is the best writing on plants and their problems that I’ve ever read. I thank your son and new editor for carrying it on.
    I wish you Godspeed and as much time as possible to live without pain.
    Ann

  76. Rosemary kohr

    You are an inspiration! What a legacy! Thank you for your passion for gardening and your writing skills. Life lived to the fullest, with joy and generosity, is an accomplishment. Wishing you and your family well on this journey.

  77. Debra Knapke

    Sending love, energy, and friendship. ?

  78. Joan Sudmann Shapiro

    I love your blog and have learned so much from you over the years. Thank you for sharing your horticultural expertise and passion for plants, as well as your wit and wisdom. May you be blessed with strength and healing.

  79. Marti Evanoff

    Persevere! Keep up your positive and cheerful message. I learn every day from this blog and send applauses and best wishes to you as you climb the next mountain to healthy turns on this latest hike!
    THANK YOU.

  80. Thank you so much for providing this service over the years. I’ve been making use of the search function and love how every question is already answered and many more I didn’t think to ask are also there. I’m sorry to hear about your health problems, and I will be thinking of you. Thank you again for providing your wisdom and experience to all of us gardeners out there. I’ve learned so much from you.

  81. How fortunate I am to have discovered your blog recently, an amazing resource I look forward to reading each morning! Your optimistic attitude is amazing, and contagious, too! Thank you, and best wishes to you and your family.

  82. Best wshihes fron an ardentyl German admirer!

  83. Best info I have seen in my 50 years of gardening and reading about it. Thank you for all you do for so many!

  84. marianwhit

    I have never met you in person, but sending you love and wishes for a return to all the people and things you love doing.

  85. Regis E Staley Jr

    I’m new to the blog but it’s become a morning staple. Thanks so much for your writings. Godspeed

  86. Dana Marie

    This same horrible illness took my father from me 14 years ago. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing your sense of humor, passion and wealth of knowledge with the world!

  87. I’m sorry you have had to struggle so hard for so long but know that your generous sharing has changed the world for the better for so many. Thanks for all the years and look after yourself as best you can now. No need to reply.

  88. You have been such a gift to this community of gardeners!!!! Thank you from my heart for compiling and creating this site. Take care now and continue to show this disease where to go take a hike!!!! God bless you sir, defy those odds.

  89. Rebecca Knight

    Thank you for all the work you have done thru the years Larry. You will leave behind a wonderful legacy. Take care!

  90. I only recently discovered your blog but realized pretty quickly that you’ve created an amazing resource for gardeners, and a very enjoyable one, too. Thank you and best wishes for continuing to defy the odds.

  91. Kathleen Craig

    Sorry to learn this. I only found the LG a few weeks ago and am now a daily reader and feel almost like we’re already friends. Best of luck to you. Go Canada! Go gardening and native plants and sturdy peonies!

  92. So Sorry that you are going thru this..wishing you and your family peace and may you get strong..no need to reply to this. Best wishes to you.

  93. Ric Barta

    I love this blog ! Thanks and Godspeed! No need to respond.

  94. Adrienne Torrance

    I’m so sorry you and your family are having to go through this. I hope you continue to beat the odds for a very long time.

    • Larry, I recently came upon you and your blog. Thank you for such helpful, useful information. May God continue to bless you with family, outstanding medical care and comfort.

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