My favorite tree hugger

Larry Sagers died today. I am so sad. We invited him into our home nearly every Saturday morning. As a good friend to the Lane County extension agent whom I grew up listening to (and with whose daughter I was good friends), Mr. Sagers was a link to the home from which I was uprooted. I’ve been listening to him for decades, hearing over and over again the same time-tested advice:  don’t top your trees; edge vertically, not horizontally; organic matter, organic matter, organic matter.

When he started teaching the master gardener class out at Thanksgiving Point I recruited a couple of friends (also making new ones) and we spent hours with Mr. Sagers one night a week for two months. I came to appreciate even more his dry wit, vast knowledge and his common sense/no-nonsense approach to horticulture. I enjoyed every minute of his lectures and Q&A so much the hours and weeks flew by and were over too soon. So I took even more classes from him.

One of my favorite memories of that time was when he took us on the tree tour at BYU. He knew every tree as if it were his friend–make, model and year. His passion for the subject was matched only by the endless reserve of his knowledge. Mr. Sagers was like a walking encyclopedia/history book, only funny.

I missed his show a lot over the summer, when my job required me to work nearly every Saturday. This fall Shane and I both noticed an awful scratch in his throat. I actually texted KSL, “Please tell me Larry Sagers is OK and this is just a bad cold.” Of course no one replied. I had a bad feeling about it then, but really had no idea it was that bad. I caught his show a couple of weeks ago. He sounded tired, but still had the tireless patience even with a few people who were, shall we say, not the sharpest trowels in the garden.

I wish I had known he was fighting a brutal fight against cancer. I would have liked to have sent him well wishes or some words of encouragement. I would have liked to have thanked him for making the world a lovelier, greener, better place.

Because he did.

RIP Mr. Sagers.