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Walled Garden Series: Let’s talk Potager Gardens

Last week we spoke about Kitchen Gardens and what needs to be addressed with the client before agreeing to the final design. This week we are keeping with the food theme, only this time we will be looking at a different approach to the kitchen garden. Though a potager garden falls under the kitchen garden and wall garden category, it is important to have a clear understanding of the difference between potager gardens and vegetable gardens, especially to relay this information onto your client.

The difference between a potager garden and a vegetable garden all comes down to the history as well as the design. The word “potager” is coined to describe a garden separate from the main outdoor area, lawn and decorative plants. Though vegetable and potager gardens are both designed for growing edibles, the design of a potager garden is intended to somewhat replicate the appeal of Baroque and Renaissance ornamented gardens. Potager gardens have become increasingly popular over the last decade, and as we have previously mentioned, many people are becoming more attracted to the idea of growing their own kitchen garden.

A Brief History of Potager Gardens

Kitchen gardens were high in popularity for hundreds of years throughout Europe. Every house included an area of land designated for the plantation of herbs, vegetables and other botanicals used for the home. For example, Violets and Lavender were used for spreading on the floor of the home to bring out their fragrance when walked over.

In the Renaissance and Baroque periods in France, the designs of potager gardens became more formal and were styled to resemble the ornamented gardens of the chateaux. What once was a typical kitchen garden had been transformed to be not only an area designated for the provision of food, but to bring together its function with the appearance of beauty and grace that had been heavily inspired by the pleasure gardens of the rich and noble.

Raised beds were formed, designed to follow geometric patterns, lined with paths and were decorated with flower bed edging stones. Lavender and boxwood hedges separated the garden beds which were narrowed to ease the planting, care and harvest.

Potager Gardens and Beauty

When discussing design ideas of a potager garden, it is important to start off by thinking of its main goal. It must home the correct vegetables, herbs and flowers, but it must also be aesthetically pleasing. Many view potager gardens as an ornamental vegetable garden which is rather true.

The design of a potager garden is to provide food for the household but the plants chosen are arranged in a way that will provide the ideal colours and form of the customer. A well designed potager garden will remain visually appealing throughout the year and for an emphasis of aesthetic, perennials or blooming shrubs are always encouraged. These days, a modern potager garden tends to combine the beauty of a formal garden with the simplicity of a vegetable garden. For a garden designer, bringing the two together and creating an outdoor environment that the client will love should be easy.

Planning the Potager Garden with your Client

Your client may have a million ideas about how they would like their potager garden to look, but it is important to start by informing them where it would be best to plot it, i.e. close to the kitchen. It’s important to sit down and help them to draw out what they want to see and how they wish to see it laid out. Do they wish to stick to traditional symmetry? How much space do they wish for it to take up in the garden? Discuss with them their options and go from there.

Ladybrook Nursery are here to provide you with the best botanical choices for you and your client. Check out our stock to see what is available or get in touch for any other enquiries

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