PRONOUNCIATION: pot . .uh . .JAY. (the J is soft)
DEFINITION: a French word originally defined as “kitchen garden,” but it has not come to mean “a part of the garden in which vegetables, herbs, fruit, and flowers are grown and arranged as much for their visual impact as for their edibility.”
I entered my grandparent’s home to the smell of applesauce cooking on the stove. My
grandfather was making two kinds, cinnamon and rhubarb, all made with apples grown in their
backyard garden. I sat down at the table and he scooped me up a warm bowl of goodness. As I ate, I looked out the window and could see the apple trees arranged in lovely rows at the far end of the property, box hedges lining the sides, and roses and wildflowers intermixed with the fall vegetables of beets, carrots, radishes, and turnips. They definitely took great pride in their potager garden-- it was fruitful and very beautiful!
When designing my own gardens, I am definitely influenced by the memories of my grandparents’ garden. I always create my gardens within view of the kitchen so i have a beautiful view when I look out the kitchen window. And I make sure my gardens are producing delicious things to eat! Here are a few elements I like to add to my gardens to elevate them to potager.
Trellises: They add height and visual interest to a garden. Plant vining vegetables or flowers at the base and watch them climb.
Box hedges: Plant along the border to create a natural fence and lovely structure.
Roses: The beauty and smell add a softness to the garden and bring in pollinators.
Fruit trees: Grow at the back of the garden or train them to grow vertically along a fence.
Garden paths: Rocks, woodchips, or bricks make lovely paths through a garden.
Garden beds: Vary their shape- rectangle, square, triangle, etc.
Consider all the ways you could add beauty, creativity, and color to your garden. Potager gardening is a way to express yourself in the garden and provide good food for your family. Happy gardening! xo