Wednesday, May 18, 2011

French Potager Garden

This weekend, I plan on FINALLY getting started with planting my veggie garden after a long, rainy few weeks. Last year, I planted my first small veggie garden, and I loved harvesting fresh tomatoes, green peppers, yellow squash, jalapeno peppers, and herbs through the summer season. This year, I want to design and plant a French potager (poh – ta - zhay) garden. Nothing huge and fancy, but just a small one since this is my first time trying this method.

Basically, a French potager garden is a decorative veggie/kitchen garden. Traditionally, it’s an informal, garden filled with veggies, edible and non-edible flowers, and herbs. Everything is arranged in rows or geometric shapes, and plants are chosen for their ornamental aspects as well as their use in the kitchen. Plants are planted closer together than the traditional garden, and usually, the garden has a focal point, such as a trellis or cone-shaped stand with a vine, a bird bath, or an arch.

The French potager garden is also planted by season. When one season of veggies has completed, another season of veggies is planted in their place. I’m not sure if I am going to get into this aspect or not this year, but edible pumpkins and decorative gourds sound good to me for the fall season. We’ll see.

Here are some pictures of various styles and sizes of the French potager garden. Some are the traditional, informal, cottage style garden, and others are more formal. 

I love the cone-shaped stands in this garden.

The simplicity of Michael Devine's garden is so cute! 

Michael Devine's Potager Garden in Country Living

I can imagine myself here in this larger version but still somewhat simple potager.

Found on Google Search- Lisa Hubbard
The piece de resistance...
The Potager Garden at Chateau de Villandry - Villandry, France

What I plant really depends on what I find at my local garden store, but ideally this is what I would like to have in my potager:

Heirloom Tomatoes- I’ve read that these taste wonderful and look beautiful. 

Green Bell Peppers and Jalapeno Peppers – They don’t look fancy, but fresh peppers taste so much better than store bought! 

Squash – Yellow squash or zucchini

Flowers – I’d like to plant flowers around the outside of the garden as well as a couple alternating rows in between the veggie plants. These will include flowers for cutting as well as ground cover.

Herbs – Dill, Basil, Oregano, Chives

Focal Point - A Vine on a Trellis - some sort of pretty flowering vine, such as clematis or morning glory.

Later, I will show you some before and after pictures of my newly planted, French potager garden. Hopefully, it will turn out like I envision, and I’ll be reaping a beautiful bounty of fresh veggies and herbs and cutting some beautiful flowers through the year. 

Until then.... Au Revoir! 

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