Hi, my name is Larry Hodgson and I’m the Laidback Gardener. The web site you’re visiting is my home turf. I write a daily gardening blog: yes, an article a day, 365 days a year. I’m that passionate about gardening!
Why “Laidback Gardener”?
Because I watch other people garden and they waste so much time carrying out useless, barely useful or even harmful tasks. Or feeling guilty about the things they think they ought to be doing, but don’t have the time or energy to do. And yet gardening can be so incredibly simple.
So, I work on training people to let the plants do the work. It’s not lazy gardening—there’ll also be a bit of physical activity involved in gardening—, but laidback. It’s a question of attitude … and respect for life, human and plant.
The Guy Behind the Laidback Gardener
Are you interested in learning a bit more about me? Well, here’s my story.
I am not a trained horticulturalist. I learned by doing, starting with my father who taught me how to garden and I’ve gardened ever since I was old enough to pick up a child’s shovel. I actually studied modern languages at the University of Toronto and Laval University and, in fact, ended up living in Québec City, in the heart of French Canada, so speak French far more often than English. Of course, I studied horticulture voraciously all that time and still do today, but through reading and testing, not in a classroom setting.
I trained to teach languages and did so for a while. But the call of gardening was just too great. I started writing articles for gardening magazines as a sideline until it wasn’t a sideline any more, but a career. It’s the perfect forum for me: I love to garden and I love to write. Give me a computer and I can concoct a gardening article in no time, anywhere: airplanes, hotel lobbies, restaurants, etc., even standing in a phone booth (remember those?) during a rainstorm.
I worked as editor-in-chief for several gardening magazines over the years—HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum—and contributed articles to more than 30 others in both North America and Europe, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Québec Vert, Fine Gardening, Rebecca’s Garden, Jardins de France and Organic Gardening.
I’ve also done a lot of radio and television work for various sources over the years, notably the Canadian Broadcast Corporation and Radio Canada, and currently have a weekly radio show on gardening at CKIA-FM in Québec City, a weekly segment on Radio Ville-Marie in Montréal and a spring through summer weekly television show, Dans mon jardin avec Larry Hodgson, on the TéléMag network in Québec.
I have lectured widely on gardening throughout North America and Europe, recently adapting to virtual lectures during the COVID-19 crisis. But I’m trying now to cut down on lectures in public: there’s just too much travel time involved.
I’m the author of over 60 books on gardening in both English and French, including 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,
I also had the honor of being president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) from 2013 to 2015 and have won several awards for my writing, including the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association.
For over 30 years, I also led garden tours to over 30 countries, although health issues have recently forced me to give up that particular aspect of my career. No regrets! I took full advantage of the possibilities while I could, some years doing 10 or more tours and traveling for a total up to of 13 weeks, and now I have my memories and hundreds of thousands of slides to show for it. Such a wonderful life!
And then there is my garden, all around my bungalow in the suburbs of Québec City. It is my passion, jammed full of strange and unique plants (yes, I’m an untamable plant collector), having long removed any semblance of a true lawn to gain more space for my trials. It’s quite the jungle and I couldn’t care less. The joy of watching all these amazing plants do their thing outweighs any desire I might have had for an organized landscape.
My climate is a cold one (USDA hardiness zone 3, AgCan hardiness zone 4) with snow for about 6 months each winter, so I do write a lot about cold-climate gardening … but also about just about any other aspect of gardening. There is really no limit to my gardening curiosity. I’ll grow anything!
There you go! You now know more about me and why I took on this crazy task of writing a daily gardening blog. Two blogs, actually, as I do one in French as well.
I intend to garden—and to write about it!—till I drop. And I bet I’ll do so!