Category Archives: Kitchen gardens

Cordoba Botanical Gardens: Sustainable Gardening & the Kitchen Garden

The Botanical Gardens in Cordoba, Spain opened in 1887 and were designed for primarily educational and scientific purposes. They are laid out along a wide central alley leading on one side to the Collections, species native to Spain arranged in borders edges by low growing rosemary or hackberry, and on the other side the Agricultural School, featured in this post, with a large collection of citrus trees as well as an extensive vegetable and kitchen garden. In the center are greenhouses dedicated to species from the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands and Andalusia, as well as a lovely area dedicated to the Andalusian patio.

In the School of Agriculture, the emphasis is on sustainability and diversity, with sustainability and organic gardening on the forefront. Plants grown are those for human or animal consumption as well as any plants offering benefits or use to people. Many different methods of cultivation are used and in those collection one can observe the different cycless of plants through the seasons.

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Citrus Medica
Citrus Medica

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Castle of Trevarez in France: The Vegetable Garden & Greenhouses

The castle of Trevarez near Chateauneuf du Faou in northern Brittany, France, is one of the last great castles built in France. Construction began in 1892 for a French politician and brought together all the faste and excess of the Belle Epoque, frescoes, carvings, marble, mosaics, ornate panels and fireplaces.

It is often referred to as the pink or red castle, because of the pink color it gets from the bricks used.  It was unfortunately bombed in the 1940s, and has not been occupied since, but it is being renovated by the government who purchased it in the 70s.

The gardens were neglected as well for many years and have been slowly brought back to their original glory, one area at a time. The grounds are extensive, with stables, a large wash house, theme gardens, formal gardens and much more.

In this post, I am featuring the potager, or kitchen garden and the greenhouses. They have been under renovation since 2013 after being abandoned for many years. Historians, landscape designers, gardeners and staff cleared out the brush while cataloguing  the plants found and located the original concrete edging to the borders and the central water pond. They were able to begin to recreate the four large quadrants that made up the walled kitchen garden. A large greenhouse closes in the potager at one end, and on the other side of one wall are the rest of the greenhouses.

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DSC01652DSC01647 DSC01648DSC01642 DSC01643 DSC01640 DSC01641The other  greenhouses for the potager are still standing but also in need of renovation.

DSC01639 DSC01613 DSC01614 DSC01617The gardener’s cottage and annex has a lean in hothouse that was used at the time for exotic plants and hothouse flowers.

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Quimper Old Priory Medieval Gardens Part III: Edibles & Tinctorials

In this third and last post on the Priory gardens of Quimper, I am featuring the back of the garden (shown on the left of the map) where edibles are grown, as well as those plants used for making and coloring clothing.

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Quimper Old Priory Medieval Gardens Part I: Medicinal & Aromatic Plants

Work on this garden was started in 1997 to create a medieval garden in the style of a convent garden in the days of Anne of Brittany (1477-1514).  The population at the time resorted to plants for most of their needs: food, medicine and clothing.

The garden has three essential components. The medicinal and herb garden,  used by monks to make their own remedies from plants not readily available in the surrounding areas and therefore grown in the garden.

The edible garden: nutritious roots, fruit, fresh or dried, beans, barley, and other garden crops made up the menu of the time.

The tinctorial garden grew plants used for clothing such as hemp, linen or catharmus which was used for red coloring.

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Note also that the medival garden is a representation of Paradise, with the fountain in the center representing the pure source from which the four rivers of Eden originate.  Plants such as white lilies and other white flowers represent the virgin.

In this first post, I am featuring the front portion of the garden, with the medicinal and herb section.

This is one of the loveliest gardens in this style I have had the chance to visit and it was also awarded “Jardin Remarquable” (remarkable garden”. It was designed not only for function but also form, with a pavilion, arbors, pergolas, benches in cozy nooks, decorative borders for raised beds, woven Plessis, and a fountain, making it a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. It also overlooks the river Odet, making it a truly enchanting setting.

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An orderly Kitchen garden in the country

Near the coast in northern Brittany, France, this house is surrounded by a neatly landscaped lawn area with benches and sitting areas; then further from the house is the kitchen garden with vegetable patches planted in orderly rows.

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An Old Fashioned Flower and Vegetable Country Garden

This garden is very reminiscent of what the French used to call a “jardin ouvrier”. Literally meaning “workingman’s or bluecollar garden”, it refers to gardens that while having very much the look of cottage gardens served the very functional purpose of having to feed a family. Typically there will be a kitchen garden in the back or side of the house, with a flowered area in the front. I have featured other such gardens in my posts as they are often found in Brittany villages and around France.

The side of the house is dedicated to a vegetable patch towards the back with rows of tomatos, salads, cabbage, pumpkins, squashes, gourds and potatoes. Flowers are mixed in to help pollination. Towards the front are fruit trees and small vegetables.

The front of the house is planted with a riot of color from assorted annuals, perennials and dahlias, while potted floweres and container arrangements surround the front door and line the path.

Extra gourds and pumpkins go into a wheelbarrow by the gate.

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Crozon – Brittany: A Cozy Flowered Kitchen Garden

This pleasantly flowered kitchen garden blends vegetable patches with roses and perennial borders and makes this functional space a pleasant retreat to sit and relax as well as work in the kitchen garden.

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