Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Kitchen Garden (Le Jardin Potager)

Unfortunately, I am one of those who thinks that the basic vegetable garden is not a thing of beauty.  It is simply a vegetable garden, laid out in the typical rows that are more common than not.

I see no reason why a vegetable garden can't be a thing of beauty as well as functional.  Thus the potager (pronounced poh ta zhay), the kitchen garden or as they say in France, "le jardin potager".  A relatively simple design that needs just a few key elements to make it stand out from the average vegetable garden.

A potager is a garden that combines both edibles and flowers.  It can vary in size and shape and is typically walled in by the use of a fence, low wall or a border of bushes ie, boxwoods.  This gives the vegetable garden a "room" effect, it is a destination unto itself.  The potager is typically laid out with pathways and raised beds, there should be a focal point of some sort, maybe a water feature or a birdbath.  Arbors with gates add a charming touch and enclose the garden even further.   You can add a seating area as well, or maybe a charming table to set your tools on.  All of these individual elements turn the average hard working vegetable garden into a charming potager where one can find respite and pleasure.

Below are a couple of pics of my potager that have been shown in earlier posts.  Mine contains a birdhouse and a birdbath that is surrounded with sage.  There are arbors at each end of the post and rail fence as well as gates.  I love walking in there and closing the gate behind me, it takes me to another world.  When I designed this vegetable garden I wasn't really thinking of a "potager",  I just wanted it to have a cottage style and be a room of it's own.  It was only later after researching "le jardin potager" that I realized that was what I actually had.  Happy accident!
Good Luck creating your own potager!  I think you will find it fun and greatly rewarding.