Good day to you, friends of the Laidback Gardener,
This is Mathieu Hodgson, son of Larry Hodgson.
On Wednesday October 26th, 2022, Larry Hodgson left us. He was surrounded by his immediate family: his son Mathieu and his partner, his wife Marie, and her children and their partners. His last days were comfortable and serene. He received visits from friends and family. He even had a final affectionate gathering with friends from the Québec Art Company.
In 2016, Larry was diagnosed with degenerative pulmonary fibrosis. On Wednesday October 19th, he was hospitalized because he could no longer receive at home the level of care that he needed. He requested medical assistance in dying.
Under his father’s guidance, Larry became a lover of plants very early in life. Later, under the pen name of the Laidback Gardener, he touched several generations of gardeners. His career started more than 40 years ago. In 1984, he became a freelance writer for the Québec newspaper Le Soleil. This was the beginning of a relationship that lasted for 38 years and that ended only this week with Larry’s final article.
People knew him also through his radio work with Radio-Canada and the CBC, as well as his participation in Salut Bonjour at TVA and his six seasons at the helm of Dans mon Jardin at Télémag. Until recently, he also hosted a radio show at CKIA FM.
From 1990 to 1994, he was the founding editor of Fleurs, plantes et jardins magazine and remained a regular contributor until 2016. He also wrote for dozens of periodicals and self-published À fleur de pot, a newsletter on indoor plants. In addition, he was the author of 65 books in French and English, published in Canada and the United States.
Among the numerous prizes and recognitions he received, the one that made him most proud was presented to him only a few weeks ago: GardenComm’s gold medal in the category ‘Blogging about Gardening’.
An Exceptional Human Being
Apart from all these achievements, his readers and fans will remember his great generosity, his sense of humor and his rigor. In the last few months, we have received countless messages from readers, listeners and viewers expressing their love and respect for Larry.
Those who knew or met him can testify to the fact that Larry was an exceptional human being. He was always in a good mood and had a contagious and resounding laugh. Moreover, with his encyclopedic memory and his natural drive and enthusiasm, he patiently answered all questions put to him at public events or on his blog laidbackgardener.blog.
From the outset, he was a pioneer in the field of horticulture. His approach was always simple, accessible and scientifically based. He introduced thousands of people to gardening in Québec and all over the world.
The Laidback Gardener Blog
In his last seven years, Larry dedicated himself to the Laidback Gardener’s blog, for which he wrote an article every day. In his last few months, he was happy to know that, under the care of his son Mathieu, and with the help of his contributors and his faithful readers, his blog would survive him. In his memory, let us keep on gardening.
The Laidback Gardener is no more; long live all laidback gardeners!
For those of you who wish to make a donation in honor of Larry Hodgson, here are a few suggestions:
- Give to Domaine Joly de Lotbinière.
- Support the Laidback Gardener’s Blog with a donation or simply by reading the blog daily. Larry’s legacy will thus go on.
- Give to the Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec where Larry received outstanding care during the last six years, including home and palliative care. His family gives the Institute heartfelt thanks.
I’m sorry to hear that. I’m glad you are keeping the blog alive.
May Larry rest in God’s garden and sincere condolences to the family. So many people were touched by your work and humour!
He helped many people, maybe a little bit, maybe a lot more
Larry was a wonderful man, full of joy and kindness, and one of the best of all garden bloggers. He has created an encyclopaedic resource and must have taken comfort from knowing it was left in such good hands. I can’t imagine how difficult his illness must have been for him and all his family. He will be very much missed, even though his work goes on.
So sorry for your loss. Your Dad’s blog is only a recent discovery for me but I really love it. Thinking of you all. My sincere condolences.
Please accept my sympathy and condolences for the loss of your family member. As well as a deep and abiding gratitude for the knowledge, wisdom and joy Mr. Hodgson shared with us. I know my garden–if not the whole world–is better because of his teachings.
I am sorry for your loss. I enjoyed his knowledge, sense of humor and love of plants that came through so clearly in this blog. We will remember him, and hope that brings some comfort to your family.
On behalf of all of the members of the Hudson Garden Club (Quebec) we wish to express our condolences to the Hodgson family. We knew Larry not only via his passionate garden presentations but also as a tour guide to fabulous gardens.
If there is a garden in heaven, Larry is discussing the plants with those gathered round as he takes pictures using the photography equipment strapped to his belt.
My sincere sympathies on your loss of such an important person in your life. I also send my thanks for all the wonderful gardening information that he shared so generously with us. The online gardening community will definitely not be the same with out him. Peace, Larry.
My sympathies to y’all. Thank you, Larry — may we all leave behind learning, wonder, and humor when we go.
My sincere condolences to all of Larry’s family and friends. I will truly miss reading his posts each morning. Thank you Mathieu for carrying on your Dad’s work.
I’m so sorry for your loss. I loved Larry’s attitude! He told us it was okay to fail, okay to put only as much time and edit into our garden as we wanted, and wonderful to rejoice when we got things right. It funny how his advice was interesting even in places with climates totally different than your’s. We really can’t grow tulips here in Hawaii, but I loved his recent piece on Darwin tulips!
After reading my first post, I clicked “follow” and have looked forward to his blog every morning. I’m glad you’ll be continuing, and hoping his memories will live on long after today.
)Those ??? In my comment above were meant to be hearts.)
Saddened to read the latest post of the Laidback Gardener. Larry was an inspiration in the current world of bloggers who are more commonly intent on outdoing their perceived competitors. Instead, Larry was a partner to all of us, helping us improve our gardening skills with his excellent knowledge. He used his sense of humor to let us know that just because we might fail to produce so called Instagram worthy results, being out in the garden enjoying yourself was enough. Rest in peace, Larry. My sincere condolences to his family.
I’m so sorry for your loss. Larry was such an inspiration and source of knowledge.
My deepest condolences to you and all his family.
Really a sad, in am literally crying. RIP, Larry.
What a legacy. RIP
RIP Old friend… miss your smile and humor already…bye, my Hort brother
Larry and I spent many hours in Board of Directions’ meetings at the Garden Writers Association (now Garden.Com). Larry was always so friendly and outgoing and, of course, passionate about gardening in Canada. We’ll all miss you, buddy.
I am so very sorry for your loss. I realize that it was expected for a while, but with the continual postings here on the blog, it was easy to imagine that it was not the case.
My sympathy to all of his family. He will be missed.
Thank you, Larry, for your inspiration.
I’m sorry for your loss. I love gardening after reading his articles.
Thanks you Larry for your entertaining and very pragmatic take on gardening. May the Great Gardener and Creator of all things beautiful greet you in the Eternal Verdant landscape where you belong.
Thanks for the lovely tribute, Mathieu. Larry was everything you said, and more. His enthusiasm was infectious, and his knowledge of plants, prodigious. He was such a sunny, fun person, and clearly a brave one as well. My sincere condolences to you all.
Aldona Satterthwaite (former editor-in-chief of Canadian Gardening magazine, to which Larry was a prolific and valued contributor)
I only discovered Larry’s blog this year when my indoor corn plant flowered for the first time in 15 years! I have enjoyed learning from his heartfelt knowledge! My sincere condolences to Matthieu and family for this great loss.
Dear Matthew and family. I have been following Larry’s post for a few years now and he has been so inspiring to me. Whenever I think about planting something new or want to find out about any plant I always check what he has to say first. My deepest condolences to all of you. His legacy lives on.
Lynda from Montreal
This makes me so sad, but it is heartening to know he left this world on his own terms.
The top photo here, of his hat, hit me right in the heart.
Rest In Peace, sir. You will be missed.
I read this in tears, remembering so many good times with Larry. We came together over our love of houseplants and I often enjoyed his company at GWA conferences. He was a lovely man, smart and funny and the world is a poorer place without him.
I started following the Laidback Gardener about two years ago, after googling a question about oleander plants. I didn’t agree with Larry’s suggestion at the time but was charmed by his humor and sincere interest in gardening, so I hit the ‘follow’ button. I then learned about his diagnosis and his frank assessment about his future. I think most gardeners are honest about death since we see so much of it in nature: but I was sad and admittedly not willing to accept that there would be an end to his posts. I’m glad his blog will live on along with his memory. I hope Larry’s family will comfort in knowing how many of us enjoyed his writing and will continue to follow the Laidback Gardener.
My condolences to you and your family. I discovered the blog only months ago, but I learned so much in a short time. Larry’s sense of humour and ability to make a reader believe wonderful results were within reach always kept me motivated. He will be sorely missed.
Marie, Mathieu, et famille,
I am so sorry for your heartache! I have been reading all of Larry’s delightful posts for some time now, and each one makes me wish I would have met him in person a long time ago. I have known of him through GardenComm, where he is revered. I do hope you continue The Laidback Gardener, Mathieu, as your father lives on through your words. My deepest sympathies to you all. Jacqueline Gorski, North Huntingdon, PA
Dear Mathieu, I’m Riccardo, from Italy. I can’t remember when and how at some point your father’s blog became a regular read for me: just for the fun of it! But: he will be missed for certain. Too much of a good spirit, in every line he wrote. Please forgive my poor English, but my sentiments are not to be corrected.
The Dorval Horticultural and Ecological Society thanks you for your many visits and entusiastic and fun talks over the years. Merci and a sad goodbye. A most notewothy career as a garden writer and communicator. In two languages! Your many awards were well earned. You will be missed.
Thank you for letting us know, and my most sincere condolences to you and your family. Larry will be much missed.
Our condolences – this will be leaving a huge gap in his family, and the family of gardeners who he has touched around the world. Thank you for this lovely eulogy, and for letting us know that Larry had his beloved green wall in sight, and family and friends around. xoxoxoxox
I am a new subscriber, having come across this blog just a few months ago, but I feel like I had known Larry for many years. My deep condolences to his family and friends. I have learned so much and been so inspired by Larry. He made me feel like even a novice like myself could do this and I loved the way he made gardening come to life. I am sure he will be greatly missed by so many.
My condolences to the Hodgson family. Have fond memories of Larry – giving lectures to the Hudson garden club and on the trips that I took with them. May he rest in peace.
The Dorval Horticultural and Ecological Society sends its condolences. Thank you for your many visits to our club over the years and your fun energetic talks.Your knowledge will be missed. Merci and a sad good bye. A most notewothy and well earned award winning career as a garden writer and communicator. In two languages!
Larry offered endless knowledge, inspiration and a great big breath of fresh air. What a lovely man! I am so sorry for your loss.
So sorry for your loss Mathieu. My condolences to you and your family.
I will certainly miss Larry’s knowledge, story-telling, and humour. Larry was fortunate to be able to decide the when, and with whom, to make his exit. RIP Larry.
I am so sorry to hear this. My sympathies to his family, friends and many readers who will miss his column every day.
Mathieu and Marie Our Deepest condolences. What a joy it was to visit and chat in September. Gardening and writing beside Larry, at least in spirit, for the last 30 – 40?? years has always been a great treat and an inspiration. He will be greatly missed and who will I sing with on Karaoke night after GardenComm meetings??
Thank you, Larry, for your great writing and greater humour. And thank you, Mathieu and friends, for continuing the LG blog. I will continue following and letting friends know about it.
Your fatjher was as an extraordinary man, always true to and advancing his calling. You and your mother were so fortunate to have him for as long as you did. I hope that he is at peace now in a beautiful green and flower filled place.
We were honoured to have Larry speak at our master gardener symposium at this time last year about his travels around the world. At the time we were unaware of how ill Larry was but he enthralled the audience for almost 2 hours. Everyone wanted to hop on a plane and explore the world’s botanical treasurers afterwards. Larry touched so many lives and leaves behind a legacy of his love of all things botanical. My condolences to all of his family. His was a life well lived.
Loved reading Larry’s posts whenever possible. Rest in peace, Larry!
I’m so, so sad. We knew this day was coming because he was brave enough to tell us. I think I loved his honesty about all things gardening the best. I’m going to my garden now to properly say goodbye.
So sad to hear this, my condolences!
I was so sad to read this and I’d like to send my condolences to all his family and friends. I feel sure he is safe and well in another dimension and you will always have a connection with him. I very much enjoyed his blogs and thanks to his advice, have stopped pulling out the dandelions on my lawn! Looking out of the window, the lawn is still green with quite a few yellow dandelions saying hello. RIP Larry.
Great info from him! He was obviously a lover of the garden! Appreciate all of the information and help from him! Will hope that this continues!??
So sorry to hear this. Larry will live on in my garden, and in so many hearts.
My deepest sympathy to you, Mathieu, and everyone in Larry’s family. He was such a memorable person – fun, generous and knowledgeable. Though he’s left this earth, I’m pretty sure his memory will stay green in everyone who ever met met him.
With healing energy to his family and deep appreciation for his work and sharing of knowledge.
My sincere sympathies to his family. His generosity with his time and wealth of knowledge was very much appreciated. Thank you for the beautiful tribute.
Mathieu, and your family. I was a bit of a thorn in Larry’s side, being a student of ecology and sometimes critical (but by no means always) of his prodigious volume of work. In spite of that, he reached out, befriended me, and encouraged me in my work and writing. Our communications were always special, and I always felt a little guilty that he was writing me personal notes when he had such a huge following. While I am deeply saddened, I am glad he is free of pain and went out by choice, on his own terms, with a massive feather in his cap.
You have been the son most of us would wish for, and, while I (selfishly) hope you keep up with the blog, it was your father’s dream not yours. If the income stream is good, keep time for the fishing, but if not, as I always say, “the garden is only as good as the gardener”, realize that your own children’s dreams are not going to be yours. If your life calls in a different direction, I am sure your father would be proud of you no matter what you choose.
All my best to you, and deep condolences.
So sorry to hear of Larry’s passing. Condolences to you and your family.
I am sorry for your loss. I just started reading your father’s blog this summer and absolutely loved it. I learned so much and I’m so happy it’s going to keep going. He was blessed to live a full life and leave contributions to us all. Thank you, Larry.
Descanse en Paz ????
Awww, that is so very sad to read. I really love reading his daily posts and will miss his knowledge and wit. Hugs to all of you for your big loss.
Very sad news. Every morning I enjoyed reading his interesting articles. May he rest in peace. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.
So sorry for your loss and the loss all gardeners will feel today. You father, husband meant so much to so many and will be missed. Knowing that you will continue on with the work he loved will be a tribute to his legacy.
So bittersweet to learn the news about Larry’s passing. So very sad to see them go, but blessed that they are no longer suffering and are at peace. Your dad was inspiration to all. Never having met him, I still felt as though he was a friend. He touched the world in such a positive way. My deepest condolences to you and your family, Mathieu.
I am so very sorry for your loss. Larry was a wonderful, passionate, ebullient man. I have wonderful memories of GWA’s 2012 visit to Quebec City, organized by Larry and co-hosted by Marie, and of working with Larry on books. He was always a joy. He will be missed by many.
Such sad news. I will most certainly continue to read the Laidback Gardener’s blog. Deepest sympathy to Larry’s family.
Many blessings – love and peace and restfullness to you all. Your father was a wonderful guide on this planet.
The start to our day can never be the same. Larry taught us that less is more when working with nature.
Our thoughts are with his family as they traveled with him, on his journey.
It’s with great sadness that I learn of Larry’s death this morning. May he rest in peace. My condolences to the whole family.
I am very sorry for your loss. Your father really touched a lot of people in a positive way.
I’m sorry to hear this. Larry was a source of information and inspiration. He will be missed. I will miss him. My condolences to the family.
My sincerest and most heartfelt condolences go to you, Matthieu, your family, and all Larry’s friends, both physical and virtual. I was privileged to meet Larry a couple of times when he spoke at our garden club, and also when he guided our tour of Québec city gardens …and his bathroom. Oh, how I have long dreamed of his luscious garden wall!
How wonderful that you were able to slip away with that lovely, soothing video playing … listening to the gentle fall of water. Larry, you have given so generously of your time and encyclopedic knowledge, to so many, for so long, with joy and great humour. Thank you and rest well.
I’m so sorry for your loss. Larry, the best Laidback Gardener, will be missed.
I am very sorry for your loss. Larry will be missed by many.
Thank you, Laidback Gardener, for informing and inspiring us! Many condolences to his family, with thanks for sharing him with us.
Larry had a huge (green chakra) heart!! Love his testimony of all green living things and your write-up here, Mathieu!
Love to ALL Larry’s family and friends as Larry crosses over to the Grand Beyond!
Dear Hodgeson Family, Please accept my deepest sympathy on your profound loss. I only discovered The Laidback Gardener last winter and other than his saying that he had health challenges, I had no idea how serious it was. I have learned much from him in my short time with his column.
To a fellow traveller on the pulmonary fibrosis road I say good bye and thanks so much for all the inspiring daily articles which we look forward to every day and have kept us going. Bon voyage. Sincere condolences to your family and so glad the daily blog will continue
Surprise and sadness. R.I.P. Larry. I will miss you. I have learned from you and actually have changed some of my gardening practices because of it. My sincere condolences to the family. I’m so happy that this marvellous blog will continue with Mathieu.
Not long ago, I listened to a story on NPR about a woman, a long time gardener, who had been struck by lightning and died – temporarily. She said in her death she was in a garden doing what she loved. After resuscitation she felt strongly that our heavens will be what we love the most. In her case it was a garden. Makes sense to me and I trust Mr. Hodgson is breathing deeply the sweet fragrance of his new garden.
Sending many blessings of comfort to you Mathieu; your father’s love of gardens touched my heart.
Mathieu, my most sincere condolences for your loss. I knew Larry and you as a kid as I played alongside you both in Québec Art Company productions in the late 1980’s – early 1990’s. My father, Philip Watson, also knew Larry well, as he was a landscape architect and had multiple exchnages with Larry. I have fond memories of Larry as a person, what a sense of humor! I am myself a part-time gardener and always felt Larry’s work was both inspiring and perfectly suited to my needs. All the best to you and your family.
Enjoy Laidback Gardener every day and hope to continue. God bless you and your dedicated effort to keep it going for all us green thumbs. I love my many plants and thank you so much Laidback Gardener
I have tremendously enjoyed the daily blogs by Larry. He was a great individual who was gracious enough to share his love and knowledge of plants and plant culture with us. Everytime I look at or work with my collection of plants I will remember him. Rest in peace Larry. My sincere condolences to the family. To all those who will carry on Larry’s legacy, I thank you.
So sad to see him go but we must remember how much pleasure and knowledge he gave us doing something he obviously loved for so many years right up to the end. How many of us can say the same? Almost every day he added to our lives with information always presented in a positive, helpful, and constructive manner. For myself over the last few years each morning was almost always started by reading his blog which started my day off beautifully.
We will miss him but but he did give us so much and that is what we must remember. No only us but our plants and gardens most truly benefited from him.
Rest in peace Larry.
My condolences. I really enjoyed the posts and learned much about gardening.
Our loss is heaven’s gain! Larry will be missed. So sorry for your loss.
My condolences to you, his family. It was one of my morning pleasures to read his daily, helpful comments on such a wide variety of gardening topics. I will truly miss him.
May he rest in peace…knowing his LOVE for things that grow we can all look at his favourite plants and blooms knowing that his sunshine is upon them helping their growth… My sympathies to his loving family
I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. My condolences.
I feel as though I have lost a friend – I was lucky to have met Larry when I was living in Lachine – As we all know Gardeners do not die – we merely become compost – rest well dear Larry . Condolences to the family he will be greatly missed
My sincere condolences to his family and friends. I learned a great deal from his blog. It was clear he loved gardening and sharing his knowledge with others. He will be greatly missed. I am saddened at his passing. Rest in peace Larry. God bless you always…
A great blog by a great guy who clearly had a sense of humus (!) about our mutual addiction to plants and gardens. He will be sadly missed, yet will also live on in my (and probably your) well-thumbed copy of “making the most of shade”.
Thank you for the beautiful remembrance of Larry Hodgeson, a beautiful human being. I have learned a great deal about plants – and life – from reading The Laidback Gardener. To his family: I am very sorry for your loss. May his memory be a blessing. Joan Sudmann Shapiro, Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A.
October 27, 2022
So very sorry to hear this news. My deepest sympathy to the family. I only recently discovered the Laidback Gardener, looked forward to the daily posts, and learning from what Larry had to share. Loved his gentle way of spreading his knowledge. He will be missed
I am so sorry for your loss. In this time of sad and stressful new, his blog brought me joy.
So very sorry to hear this news. My deepest sympathy to the family. I only recently discovered the Laidback Gardener and learned from and enjoyed what Larry had to share. Loved his gentle way of spreading his knowledge. He will be missed.
Dearest Larry, thank you for supporting me through my goutweed wars. I couldn’t have done it without you. This summer, inspired by you, I started a rosemary plant in a pot and will bring it inside this weekend before the first frost. I will think of you every time I snip an aromatic twig for cooking. I will miss your kind words and endless knowledge of all things of the earth.
So many great memories of Larry. He will be so missed.
I only recently discovered this blog and had absolutely no idea Larry was so I’ll. From this brief moment he gave so much!
Condolences to family, friends and colleagues. Canada has lost a blazing star!
So sorry to hear of your passing, Larry. Yours was (and is) the only blog I ever read, and renders me so delightfully laid-back (vraiment paresseux) when I should be working. For many happy moments thus spent in the delightful company of plants, and yours, I am forever grateful and send heartfelt condolences to your loved ones.
I didn’t realize that his end was so close. I’m very sad that he is no longer with us, but he gave so much while he was here and we still have the resource of many years of his great writing. His voice and perspective were unique — the lovely notion that you have to dance with the natural world (and let it lead half the time), not try to dominate it.
RIP my friend. You introduced me to so much. Merci bien.
Deepest Condolences to the family.
Rest in peace Larry. My deepest sympathy & condolences to the family. I always looking forward to read
Our sincere prayers for you and your family. Your father was an inspiration around the world.
Sometimes there are no perfect words – only thoughtful silences that whisper softly of caring….
rip Larry – I loved reading your emails.
Rest in peace, Larry. You were an inspiration to so many.
I’m sorry for your loss.
Our condolences to the family. May his soul rest in eternal peace. Amen?
Larry’s posts helped me improve my gardening skills.
Our sincerest condolences to you and your mother, all family and friends. May God give you all comfort. He taught me so much.
Please accept my sympathies. My garden has greatly benefited from Larry Hodgson’s wisdom and knowledge, and his wit, kindness and curiousity always to learn more shone through in his blog.
Rest in peace, Larry. To Mathieu, Marie and the rest of the family, my sincere condolences. It was a joy to read Larry’s posts.
I am only now reading and catching up on the blogs and saw this one. How wonderful that he had a serene and peaceful passing. It’s what we all wish for when the time comes. Sympathies from southern California.