A potager (pronounced: po·ta·jé) garden is basically a French ornamental kitchen garden. It’s filled with practical things like fruits, veggies and herbs, but is also ascetically pleasing and filled with a variety of florals.
I’m currently working on the basics of how to create a potager garden on our farm. I’m seriously excited about this gorgeous project.
This post has been updated from its original publish date of May 2017.
The progress on the garden this year has been slow going. We were hit with a tornado and lost most of plants as well as my beloved greenhouse. So some of these images were taken prior to the loss of the greenhouse.
But we are resilient and will rebuild…eventually.
How to Create a Potager Garden
I have big design plans for the garden and I love trying to work in the basics of permaculture into our little acreage.
But I also have great love for trying to incorporate something visually appealing.
Potager gardeners have intermingled fruits, veggies, and herbs with flowers since medieval days.
Typically a potager is located right outside of the kitchen door, this is why it is known as a kitchen garden. It would hold the herbs and veggies that you’d want easily available for a recipe without having to trudge out to the main garden just for some fresh herbs.
I love the lush fields of sunflowers in Tuscany or the gorgeous fields of lavender in Provence. this is year one in our brand new home on the ranch and I am creating a combination of old English cottage garden with a bit of Mediterranean flare.
This year I have big plans and I can’t wait to reveal the design and progress once the plants start to grow more and fill in a little bit.
Since we are talking about beautiful gardens, I thought I’d share a small glimpse of what I’m currently working on in our garden. This year, I am working towards the beginning steps of designing our potager garden.
I am taking inspiration from a traditional potager design, but altering it to fit in with my available space and my visual eye. I’m adding a little bit of whimsy and character. And a ton of color.
Something that borders on practical with beauty mixed in.
This year I am trying out a couple of new things in the Potager. First is this Back to Eden garden method. Have you used this method? I’d love to hear your experiences!
I am utilizing our greenhouse to get a head start with seed starting our herbs garden, fruits and flowers.
And I am also using companion plants in garden because it is incredibly beneficial to the success and growth.
The progress of the potager
I have everything in the ground or started except for corn and melons and a few ornamental flowers which I’m planning on starting in the new greenhouse soon.
And it needs to be weeded and mulched desperately. But the high winds have not helped this year. I may try pea gravel through the majority of the garden area to help keep the weeds down.
At least I have some great progress made this year.
The zucchini is growing rapidly.
And so are the peas! For these, I’m not going to use a trellis, but am hoping I can get them to climb on the fence line.
I have sunflowers coming in nearby, and the lettuce is doing amazing so far.
There’s a variety of herbs, both culinary and medicinal which have been started. As well as cucumbers, onions, potatoes, and eggplant.
I needed to re-start my tomatoes & peppers and a few other things we lost in the recent tornado.
And despite living in zone 5A, I have a mini olive tree and bay leaf plant on it’s way to the homestead. I might be slightly crazy, but I want to give it a try!
I plan on housing it in a large planter and moving it inside the greenhouse during the cooler evenings and then inside for the winter.
Creating a Potager Garden Design
Plan & determine where you want to set up this gorgeous garden design and visualize. Choose a focal point.
For the center of our potager, I have two arches set up. One to grow pole beans and the other is for one variety of David Austin roses.
The fun thing about a potager design is that there is little room for error. It is uncomplicated, informal, and romantic. Imagine a variety of beautiful florals growing among the vegetables. And a variety of colors and textures.
Raised garden beds using natural materials gives to that old, rustic charm.
Or cute bean teepees made from tree branches. Give your tomatoes support with teepees as well.
The intermingling of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers — it’s truly a thing of beauty. What herbs and flowers to grow in a potager garden can vary depending on your growing zone, colors and textures.
Here are some of my favorite herbs and flowers for a potager garden.
The next thing to consider for design are the edges. For our farm, I’m filling in between plants and the outer edging with florals and herbs. I have flowering vines that I’m using along my fence line.
All of them filled with tons of color!
And then there’s the sunflowers which will serve as a beautiful background, but they’re also useful because they will provide treats for our chickens.
Then there are also climbing flowers and veggies to climb along fence lines and arches.
We use old cattle panels for our arches.
And new to this year are my variety of David Austin roses for around the garden and to climb over arches.
Another option for filling in spaces around the garden design are basic terra cotta planters filled with herbs and flowers.
There’s still much work to be done, but I will have another update when the garden begins to grow in more over the summer.
Check out this article for more info on creating up a potager garden.