The Flower Revolution ~ The Potager

The Potager; the French term for ornamental kitchen garden. Often contained flowers (edible and non-edible) an herbs planted with vegetables to enhance the garden's beauty.

The first were humble peasant gardens planted for utilitarian purposes. It wasn't until the Renaissance and Baroque Eras that the formal garden design called the Potager Garden appeared in France. The world famous potager at Chateau Villandry or Rosemary Verey's well-known potager at Barnsley House, Gloucestershire are fine examples of creativity in the vegetable garden. However, it is interesting to discover that these gardens drew their inspiration from the kitchen gardens that had their origins in the monastic tradition.

Choosing the right site is the first step in starting your potager; a level site makes work easier but you could step your garden on a slope if that is your only option. The garden should receive at least 6 hours of sun each day. Try to avoid shade from trees or buildings. Shelter from wind is also important, some sort of windbreak is beneficial; hedging or fencing would be suitable.

Next, you should make a survey. Make a scaled drawing taking careful measurements and record these on a clean sheet of vellum in pen and ink. This becomes your survey drawing. You can use tracing paper over this and start working out ideas.

Beds with paths wide enough for a wheelbarrow can be in any configuration that pleases your design inclinations. Think of it as a tapestry ~ a mix of colors, textures, shapes intermingling herbs, flowers, vegetables and fruits. This is my favorite garden: I love collecting the flowers for bouquets, gathering herbs for my cooking and just relaxing amongst the sites and fragrances.