My Garden Retreat

My Garden Retreat
photo Gridley Graves for Country Living

Potager 2012

Hello my friends!
It's Friday, and once again...
The week has flown by!

I have spent practically every waking hour out in my potager.

What is a potager some have asked?

I found this wonderful description that defines it perfectly!

Potager Garden Definition: (pronunciation: puh ta zhay) a garden that combines both edible and ornamental plants; a vegetable garden that is utilitarian in nature but designed with beauty in mind; much like an English kitchen garden, but often formal and symmetrically designed in the French fashion. 

I first fell in love with this style of kitchen garden 8 years ago. We started much smaller with just four 4x4 beds.
And then, when we decided to move to the cottage during the initial stages of our Renovation...
And build Tinker house, my garden folly constructed of reclaimed materials from said renovation.
I made a few more renderings...

Altered the design a few dozen times...Enlarged it...

And still...
I have many things I wish to add in the coming years.

This years layout started in my office a few weeks ago...

With a few packages of seeds and a list of plants I wanted to use this season.

Then the hard part began.
Monday's Project.

Reacquainting myself with the tiller!

My Hubby bought me this smaller tiller 4 years ago right after we moved the potager from here...

To it's current location in the North East corner of my garden. Two of the original beds remain  at it's previous location and are now stone sided.

I love the new location. It has full sun until about 2 in the afternoon and  dappled sunlight in the late evening.

My potager is divided into 4 main beds. Two 4x4 and two 4x10. Espalier Pear and Peach trees on the North and East, and a raised bed with blackberries and strawberries to the West create the walls.

This year, I decided to move the lemon balm to the center with an iron tutor.
This meant a large 5 gallon pot had to be buried.

I used a biodegradable pot that I reclaimed from one of my tree purchases last year.
I then planted lavender to 4 sides.

This was Tuesday's project.

On Wednesday, I tilled again and amended the soil in all of my beds.

I might be HDHD...but I am also very OCD! 
While I am tilling, I place paint tarp runners around the bed to keep the soil from getting in my peagravel!
I then simply shake the soil back into the beds and Viola!
Very little loss of soil and clean pea gravel.

On Wednesday Afternoon, and all day Thursday, I planted. 
The above rendering, is this years layout.

Since I didn't intend to show you this picture when I drew's a bit crude but it works!

To help deter the neighbors cats and the wild rabbits from having a go at my beds...I plant purity marigolds along the edges of all my beds.
We do not use pesticides here in our potager in any form. I like to be able to pick a tomato or berry and eat it right there if I want to.
Plus, I don't have a lot to do before we use them...simply wash!
This method has been more difficult but I still believe it's worth it.

Common Chives

The front bed is mostly seeds. I plant my carrots, radishes and some of my lettuces in this bed. In order to have them throughout the season...
I plant a row every 10 days of each. 
I do this all summer!

Intermingled throughout my veggies are cutting flowers, planted simply for me to bring indoors.
I love White Snapdragon spikes and always plant them. 
This year, I have added French  Larkspur, "shades of blue".
I look forward to it's blooms!

I also plant edible flowers in here in the potager.
I love Nasturtium with it's subtle peppery flavor and this year,I  found a nearly white variety call "milkmaid". 
My pansies will also be moved here this afternoon and then I will wrap up some loose ends before I move indoors to prepare for the French Market.

My potager is now complete for the season. 
I still have so much to do before the day is over though so I must be off.
But, before I head outside, I wanted to share a new herb I discovered this season (new to me at least)

Boxwood Basil!

It's the cutest little thing! I lined them up along the east bed!
My roses are in bloom on the grape arbor.

This is Eglantyne, a David Austin climber. I planted these two last Spring, It's there first year to bloom!

Well, that's it for now,
Thank you for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed your visit to my potager!

Until next time....
Have a blessed weekend!


  1. Speechless. Beautiful.
    Have a lovely weekend, Donna!

  2. Your potager garden is so lovely! I think you did a wonderful job designing it. Your cottage is so sweet, too. I couldn't help noticing it.

  3. E' tutto stupendo e meraviglioso.....
    Buon lavoro
    Un bacio dall'Italia;D

  4. There is no better place to be than in the garden, digging - talking to the plants, drinking in natures beauty. Enjoy !!

  5. Beautiful pictures!
    I'm thinking how can I add a potagere in my new garden.
    I'd like to cultivate something we can eat with my children, together with white and pink rose and lavender!

  6. that all looks beautiful and peaceful. makes me want to go home and dig in my yard. I do need a small tiller

    I just love being outside

  7. Lots of inspiration in your potager for sure..........

  8. Oh my gosh, this is absolutely wonderful and oh so romantic.

    What an inspiration.

    Have a great weekend ~ FlowerLady

  9. Donna, Your potager is beautiful, all your hard work shows. I absolutely love that rose > Smiles, Susie

  10. So happy to read your post. Your potager is such an inspiration. We are planning ours right now and it will also feature four large beds. I also have David Austin Roses and added Eglantyne last year. They are so beautiful!

  11. Your potager is stunning and so gorgeous. Your love of plantings and flowers is very apparent. So much work yet so very much reward. To be able to enjoy your fruits, vegetables and flowers must make it all worth while. Our new treat this year was two David Austin heritage rose bushes. They are filling out nicely and have little buds on them. Blissful gardening in your beautiful potager my dear...

  12. I think i'm in love... your potager is every single thing that's good...


  13. Wow. It looks amazing. Lovely pictures.

    Thank you for your sweet comments.

  14. I'm a recent subscriber to your blog and I look forward to watching your garden grow this summer. Thank you for sharing...Maryjane

  15. I would have kicked myself if I missed his post! I love your potager Donna! It is a big undertaking and It is just a stunner of a project! Truly remarkable! Great job Donna, I was in my garden at 5 pm today and saw something feasting on my rose buds. So disappointed, but I added a systemic product and I hope it works. I also planted giant alliums for the first time and they are already in full bloom. I hope to capture my garden tomorrow~xo

  16. Donna -You amaze me! My son wants to start gardening and I can't wait to show this to him! Oh my gosh - you have a gift for this for sure! Please keep posting on all of this!
    Thank you for your comment on my blog - I am so happy that part id done, seems like I have been in editing forever!
    Oh yes! Bubble bath's keep my sanity! hee!
    Hugs my friend!
    Have a pretty day!

  17. Hi Donna - I am very impressed! You are a trooper, and a true gardener!! Your potager garden is gorgeous and, so well thought out. I really admire your dedication and hard work. I can't wait to see all the plants and veggies fill out. Love the boxwood basil. Let us know what that taste like. Last year, I was so disappointed with my Thai basil. I love your organic approach. Cheers, Loi

  18. Donna,

    Your potager is always so inspiring, and that espalier along your fence line makes your garden look oh so French!
    I'm just like you. Each morning Amelia and I spend hours in the garden as I water, check the plants, pick the veggies/herbs.
    It's the most theraputic and relaxing hobby I've ever had. This is my 3rd or 4th year to have a vegetable garden but only my second year of really trying to make the potager a beautiful place. I still need to plant flowers and roses, and I would love to acquire a handful of really French-looking pieces--urns, planters, etc.

    Thanks for sharing the Boxwood Basil and the Milkmaid Nasturtrium ideas.
    If you like basil, you may like a variety that I planted for the first time this year called cinnamon basil. It's delicious with italian food but I even top fruits/fruit salads with it, and it's awesome!

    I actually took some photos of my potager this morning and one of these days I'll share mine...

    Enjoy your potager tomorrow morning!


Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment!
I love reading them~they truly make my day!
~Donna Reyné