(from Canadian Gardening magazine)
Blend your fruits, vegetables and herbs with the flowers in your garden to create a potager.
Potage: French for soup. Potager: a garden where soup ingredients—and then some—are grown. Since medieval times, French villagers and country folk have intermingled vegetables, herbs, fruit and flowers in their gardens. It’s a style that’s presently enjoying a revival. A recent survey showed that almost one-quarter of the fruit and vegetables eaten by the French are grown in home gardens—not in long rows on broad tracts of land, but in manageable beds tucked into yards that also contain perennials, shrubs, vines, roses and all.
If growing vegetables puts you in mind of a none-too-pretty plot, straight rows and endless hoeing, reconsider: it’s entirely possible to have a lovely, easily tended garden, and eat from it, too. In essence, a potager is a series of growing beds, as few as two or as many as space allows, intersected by paths. The first requirement is sun. Then let your imagination go.
How to grow edibles and ornamentals side by side
There are two ways of growing food plants while keeping aesthetics in mind. One is to add suitable edibles to existing flower beds: parsley or red-leafed lettuce bordering perennials or roses, a patch of Swiss chard or purple kale among the flowers, a tower of pole beans at the back. The other involves laying out an interesting vegetable garden and weaving flowers, herbs and even fruit trees into the design…