PRECOLONIAL HISTORY / LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:
Crocus Hill Garden is located on Treaty 6 territory in the RM of Eldon, about 10 km northeast of Waseca, and 50 km southeast of Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. This is a region of rich soil and rich history. I would like to acknowledge all those who walked these lands before me, beginning with the herds of wild buffalo that once roamed here, and the many nomadic peoples that followed them across the prairies. The land where Crocus Hill Garden sits today likely holds the footprints of many indigenous tribes. These may include the Atsina (Gros Ventre), Niitsitapi (Blackfoot), Nakota (Assiniboine), Nakawē (Salteaux), Lakota (Sioux), and the Cree. It is difﬁcult to know for sure because these groups were careful not to leave a trail, and never to take too much. As a white settler-descendant, I am grateful to all of the original caretakers of the grasslands. I recognize the hardship First Nations suffer today as a direct result of the loss of land and livelihood that occurred during colonization, and I pledge to work towards indigenous reconciliation in every way that I can.
My family arrived on this land at the turn of the 20th Century when my great grandparents Mary and Archie McPherson established a pioneer homestead and a horse-powered grain and livestock farm. In 1945, their son, Bob, returned home from the war to build a farm of his own on adjacent land. He and his wife Evelyn lived and worked there for the better part of 60 years. It was Bob who ﬁrst cultivated the little patch of prairie where Crocus Hill Garden sits today. Nestled in a poplar bluff, this 1 acre piece of land was originally used as a pig pasture until the 1970s, when it became a vegetable garden. In the 1980s, Bob and Evelyn’s daughter (my mother, Jean) graduated university in Saskatoon and returned to the farm with her husband from the city (my father, Jim). My parents built a home, and gradually took over the grain operation. Today, my parents continue to farm 1000 acres of wheat, peas, canola, and barley. Meanwhile, my grandfather’s old garden patch spent two decades sitting fallow under a layer of thistle and brome grass, waiting for the next generation to bring it back to life.
In the Spring of 2018, I returned to the farm to establish Crocus Hill Garden. Inspired by principles of permaculture, regenerative agriculture, and agroecology, the garden is free of synthetic pesticides, and highly biodiverse, with over 40 varieties of vegetables, herbs, perennial fruits, and ﬂowers. My goal is to foster healthy natural processes and ecological synergies- such as beneﬁcial insects, cover crops and companion plants- to create a thriving, resilient and low-input food production system. My gardening methods include minimal machinery, and minimal tillage.