I’ve been looking for the right fit for our new garden layouts. I was all set to emulate Martha Stewart’s vegetable gardens where her paths are big enough to drive a car through. Then I went a little deeper into my green thumb library. Since the plan is to spend a majority of our time out in the garden, why make it just utilitarian. Form follows function was nagging in my brain. Who wants to sit out weeding in rows of dirt all day. This will be our forever home so why not at least attempt something more than utilitarian. Thus, began my winter’s class on the potager.
A potager is a French term for an ornamental vegetable or kitchen garden. The historical design precedent is from the Gardens of the French Renaissance and Baroque Garden à la française eras. Often flowers (edible and non-edible) and herbs are planted with the vegetables to enhance the garden’s beauty. The goal is to make the function of providing food aesthetically pleasing.
Plants are chosen as much for their functionality as for their color and form. Many are trained to grow upward. A well-designed potager can provide food, as well as cut flowers and herbs for the home with very little maintenance. Potagers can disguise their function of providing for a home in a wide array of forms—from the carefree style of the cottage garden to the formality of a knot garden.
Of course the French would have the design answer to my garden dilemma. I’m fully aware that it will take a few years for our garden to achieve its Potager status or it may just turn into a horrible flop. A risk every gardener most take.
Some interesting books to sink your teeth into if you want to make your kitchen garden a bit more beautiful…
Another great resource is Mother Earth News Garden Planner. They offer a free trial for 30 days and just 25.00 a year to use the service. You can rearrange your garden in any different way you choose. Plus, you can order supplies with direct links to what you’ve chosen on your plan. Then even better I get an email telling me what seeds I need to start when all scheduled out from our last freeze date. Here’s a link to our potager plan if you want to take a peek.
I mistakenly printed our plan 200% on the printer. Instead of discarding the plan I posted it in our studio. Here, Bruce does his best Vanna White in the morning, secretly thinking my wife is never going to let me rest this summer.