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The Not-So-Great Outdoors


This is our house.  Out of all the homes we’ve owned, this one probably has the best curb appeal.  We could tell that things were overgrown, but the arrival of spring has shown us exactly how much.


You can tell that at one time this was a really beautiful yard.  Now there’s all sorts of weed and sucker trees like in the picture above.  The biggest surprise was that the space around the entire fence of the back yard is intended to be flower beds. . . not grass.


Fun fact!!  Note that our fence is being held up by two poles of mystery!  Also, does anyone want some ferns?  There are a million ferns.

I’ve started digging through the overgrowth, and after about 90 minutes of work I end up with a small section like this:


There are also many bushes of mystery.  I am letting them live this year so I can decide if I like them them or not.  I’d love to chop down the evergreen in the backyard this year, but the Hermit doesn’t want to make rash decisions.


Also, does anyone want some lily-of-the-valley or purple flower that I don’t know the name of?  As you can see, we have scads.

For the first time ever, we have a home with a garden space!!  It was very overgrown, so I called someone to come rototill it.  This is what it looks like after the rototilling:


I don’t think I’ll be planting anything here this year.  I’ll be spending the whole summer clearing out grass, killing weeds, and throwing kitchen scraps into the soil.  In the fall, the plan is to try lasagna gardening and hopefully end up with a beautiful space to plant things next spring.

Check out the progress in 2017

Are you a gardening whiz?  If so, I’d love to hear your suggestions or any tips and tricks you have that you think I might find useful.

Kristen Raney

Kristen Raney

Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots.  She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden.  She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.

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Grow roots with us



Hi, I'm Kristen and I help new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. I also share recipes that use all that delicious garden produce. Grab a coffee (and your gardening gloves) and join me for gardening tips, simple recipes, and the occasional DIY, all from the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

P.S. First time gardener? You'll want to download the quick start gardening guide below!