Spring & In Memorium: Jason Kay

Snow-Gauge Clif

Spring is tiptoeing into central Maine. I won’t say that we are bursting with blooms yet. We will have to wait another few weeks for that in this area. But the snow is nearly gone from our yard by the edge of the woods, and this will be Snow-Gauge Clif’s last week to measure the melting snow in 2023.

It’s always astonishes me how quickly the snow goes away. About a month ago, on March 6, this is what the front yard looked like.

This is what it looks like now.

Last month.


Here is the backyard last month.

And here it is yesterday.

Snow-Gauge Clif, we’ll see you in 2024!


In Memorium: Jason Kay

A week ago, the blogging community lost a beautiful spirit—Jason Kay of Garden in the City. For the past few years, Jason had been sick with pancreatic cancer. Chemo kept the cancer at bay for a while, but at the beginning of 2023, it became clear that the chemo was no longer working, and Jason decided to stop treatment.

Jason’s family has written a lovely memorial piece about him. By clicking on the link in the paragraph above, you can read about Jason, about his love of gardens and his dedication to social justice, to making our country a better place for all people.

I had the great good fortune of meeting Jason and his wife, Judy. In October 2021, they came to Maine for a visit and to our home on the edge of the woods for a socially-distanced lunch on the patio. Alas, my gardens are not at their best in October. But never mind! It was a beautiful, warm sunny day, and we had a delightful time talking and getting to know each other. Clif, of course, made his legendary grilled bread.

Here is a picture of Judy and Jason in our backyard.

Judy and her family plan to update Jason’s wonderful blog: “[W]e hope you’ll stay as we continue to post occasional updates and photos of the garden and our family. As mentioned in an earlier post, we have hired a wonderful garden service, Vivant Gardens, to help maintain the garden.”

If you haven’t visited Garden in a City, please consider doing so. I have learned a lot about gardening from Jason, and I have marvelled at his gardens throughout the seasons and the years.

Farewell, Jason. Many thanks for all that you’ve done. You will be greatly missed.


The memoriam to Jason seems like the right way to end this post. Next week I’ll return with reading, watching, and listening recommendations.


59 thoughts on “Spring & In Memorium: Jason Kay”

  1. So sorry that your blogging friend has passed away! He seems like a great guy. Maybe plant a few plants in his honor and his memory.

  2. A beautiful tribute to Jason dear Laurie and we are so sorry for your loss. Sending love to you, Clif, Judy and all who knew and loved him 💞💜💞

  3. I am sorry to hear about your friend.

    The coming of spring must be welcome very year after your season of snow even if it does mean unemployment for the snow gauge. I expect that you can find something else useful for him to do.

  4. It was sad to read Judy’s post of Jason’s passing. No matter how aware we were of his illness, the news still saddens the heart. He was a pioneer in the use of native plants in his gardens and he created an oasis for both people and wildlife. I’m glad his creation will be maintained.
    I love that you have documented the past month of snow melt. It is something to remind ourselves when the late winter blues arrive in late Feb. It is good to remember it does go relatively quickly!

  5. I guess you’re glad not to be measuring snow anymore!

    The loss of Jason is so sad for his family and friends, and for all of us who loved his delightful blog posts and his gardens. Judy wrote beautifully about Jason and it was interesting to learn about the non-gardening aspects of Jason’s life. He’ll be sorely missed by all who encountered him.

  6. I was very sad to read of Jason’s death, I think of him so often when I am in the garden, or visiting gardens, I learnt such a lot from him. It was also interesting to read about Jason’s passion for social justice issues, we (Paul was doing a PHD in Health Policy in Australia) had exchanged notes on health issues in the US and in Australia during Covid. Blogging is such a good way of widen our horizons.
    Judy wrote so well about Jason, and the family, and she seemed to be very much a partner in the blogging process. I look forward to seeing more on Jason’s blog.

    1. Yes, so sad. But how wonderful that Jason’s posts reached you and Paul in Australia. As you noted, blogging is such a good way to widen our horizons.

      Judy wrote beautifully about Jason. I, too, look forward to seeing more on Jason’s blog, to seeing his beautiful gardens through the seasons.

  7. Laurie, I remember when you posted about your gathering with Jason and Judy. I’m sorry for your loss. I wish I had been a follower all this time. I will head over there now.

    Snow Gauge Clif, please enjoy your time off.

    1. Yes, do head over. Such a treat to read Jason’s posts. His passion for plants and gardens shine through on his blog.

      Snow-Gauge Clif won’t have much time to rest. Lots of spring chores. 😉

      1. I read the beautiful tribute on Jason’s blog. The loss of this man is palpable. He was young, too. I’m pleased to read that they will preserve his garden legacy.

  8. Glad your snow has gone – Flowers will follow. I had just started following Jason’s blog and was saddened to hear he had died. Our friends in the blogosphere become important in our lives. I like the idea of lants as momentoes – I picked sprigs off bushes at the funerals I went to lately and hope they root so i cn use them in the garden to remind me of the people I am missing.

    1. Yes, the flowers will follow. Jason’s blog was not only a delight but also informative. I learned a lot from him. I am glad his family will continue with the blog and the gardens. Hope those spring take root. Plants are indeed a lovely memento.

  9. I brought some patio furniture out this week, and I thought of you while I was doing it. 🙂 I was very sad to hear of Jason’s passing. I have Mexican Sunflower seedlings under the lights because of his posts about them. Each year I will remember him as I plant and watch the bees and butterflies enjoy them. He was an exceptional gardener.

  10. I’m glad your snow is virtually gone! And very sorry to read about your friend Jason. My condolences to his wife Judy, his sons and his community.

  11. I liked Jason’s blog and was sad when he fell ill. hid family wrote a lovely tribute to him, I didn’t know how much socially good work he did.

    As for Maine winters, 55 were enough. It’s very much spring here in Northern Virginia.

  12. Laurie and Clif – your snow photos are really stunning this year. It seemed to evaporate really quickly!

    I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. He sounds incredible. Going to check out his blog now. xo

  13. We’re in the midst of a snowstorm, Laurie, though I don’t think the snow will last until the weekend. It melts fast, as you know.

    And so sorry to hear about Jason. I hadn’t discovered his blog, but it’s sad to lose our blogging friends. I’m always grateful for the notifications and opportunity to send some light their way.

  14. That is a lovely tribute to Jason, Laurie. I am so glad Judy and Jason got out to see you and Clif. I will still be following their blog, and look forward to Judy’s posts.

  15. I always enjoy these end-of-season photos of Clif. What a difference a few degrees of temperature can make! I appreciated your tribute to Jason, as well. He was a fine teacher, and always was willing to answer this non-gardener’s questions in a way I could understand.

    1. Amazing to me how fast the snow melts, and I am a life-long Mainer. Jason was a fine teacher and a fine person. He will be greatly missed by many.

  16. Lovely tribute to Jason and I’m glad you had the chance to meet and have a delightful day together. Wonderful to see that the snow-gauge season is ready to transition to patio season!

  17. Yes a few hot afternoons and the snow in my backyard is gone. Even the mount where the snowblower tosses it, has receded to a moderate lump that should be gone by weeks end

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