Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Perfect Potager

Every year at about this time I think I should really start a kitchen garden or potager, as the French say.  Here in New England you really need to fence a garden with fairly high fencing to keep out the critters, especially the deer.  Someone had started a fenced garden in our yard many years ago, the remnants of a fence and some stray daffodils and peonies still bloom out of the chaos of weeds.  But over the years this garden has gotten too shady.   A maple tree on the southwest edge, which must have been a sapling or non existent when the  garden was created, is now fully mature and blocks the sun as soon as the leaves are out.  I've had an estimate of $1000 to have the tree taken down.  I can't quite justify I'm going to continue to pine for a potager.

Here are five elements I feel are critical to include in the perfect Potager. 

#1 Geometric Beds:  
Raised beds are best, edged with cobble stones, bluestone, or wood planks. It's a practical solution, but also adds a lot of beauty.  I tend to like it's a perfect way to give the garden a sense of order.

 #2 Architectural Features:
Don't underestimate the power of an urn, an arbor, a gate or a pyramid to add structure to a garden.  I think architectural elements critical to create a beautiful potager...they will create a focal point or a place for your eye to pause. 

 # 3 Lovely Paths:
Lovely paths between the beds are a must: pea gravel, bricks, bluestone, grass, or wood chips are all great choices for the paths.

 #4 Fencing:
It's a must have here in Connecticut...but fences or walls also add beauty to the garden, providing enclosure and a sense of place...a fence or wall  helps to create an outdoor room, in which you want to spend time.

 #5 Flowers:
I think these gardens look best with some colorful flowers mixed in with the vegetables.  The vegetable plants offer a variation, in size, texture, and shape....but flowers add more visual interest. 

Happy Gardening!

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