The interiors of the movies written and directed by Nancy Meyers… “Something’s Gotta Give”, “The Holiday”, “The Intern”, and many more… are the envy of most of us, but it’s the kitchen garden in “It’s Complicated” that I have coveted. That garden had the formal “bones” consistent with the French style potager.
I have several raised garden beds for herbs and tomatoes, but recently I’ve been dreaming of a potager somewhere in my garden…
Potager gardens, designed to be beautiful, originated in France. These gardens are usually small and are conveniently located close to an entrance with easy access to the kitchen. They are often laid out in a geometric pattern bordered with a fence or hedge, featuring fruits, vegetable, herbs, edible flowers and perennial flowers. The design is artfully arranged with the vegetables tightly packed together (helps to eliminate weeds). Sometimes referred to as a “salad garden”, most of the vegetables in a potager are those that grow above ground. Root vegetables are grown in the traditional garden. Permanent walkways and vertical features complete the design.
The only available space I have in my garden is along the side yard. It is on the west side of my house but is quite shaded by a large elm tree and the neighbour’s house. I have Japanese Lilac trees and hydrangea growing along the fence. Many years ago I hauled in pea gravel hoping the dogs would do their business here, but that was wishful thinking on my part. They always preferred a lush green grass carpet for that!!!
Although the area is quite narrow, I plan to lay out a potager this summer. The gravel will become the permanent pathways, and I will use raised garden beds. I am happy that many vegetables and herbs grow well in shady areas.
Now all I need to do is figure out how to move the heavy cement statuary and benches!