Tag Archives: kitchen garden

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 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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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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Landscaped Orchard Garden and arbor near the sea

Much like the Normandy region, Brittany, France is known for its apples. Countless varieties are grown in every garden of Brittany. This garden divided a small orchard from a vegetable garden area with a rustic wood arbor covered in vines. There is also a row of espaliered fruit trees hedging the side of the property.

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Brittany Garden and Pumpkin patch

Tis September and the season for pumpkins and assorted squashes that absolutely thrive in Brittany, France, and few vegetable gardens fail to have a patch of pumpkins spilling over. This one also has some rows of trellised tomatoes approaching the end of the growing season. Flowering shrubs hedges and a “flowered” wall covered in blooming groundcovers enclose the garden.

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A Picture perfect kitchen garden in northern France

The elderly couple who owns the house tends this kitchen garden or “potager” as the French call it almost year round. Come September, a cover crop is coming out to replace the potatoes in the center patch, and fall vegetables such as leeks, pumpkin and artichokes still fill the garden. The marigolds at the end of the rows repel certain garden pests from the vegetables.

On the other side of the house, a row of kiwi vines, some over 30 years old, are trellised along the wall, and a garden bench offers a peaceful place to rest for a moment.

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Row of trellised kiwis

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Kiwis (Actinidia)

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Mixed shrubs hedges

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A Seaside Kitchen Garden with Raised Beds

I happened upon this lovely seaside garden in the village of Roscanvel. The plants and flowers in the raised beds are all carefully labeled. The beds are arranged in a grid pattern with grapevines and apple trees growing along the back wall.  When the vegetables in a raised bed have been harvested, wildflowers are planted as cover crops. The ocean view of course is beautiful!

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Nantes “Jardin des Plantes” Part 1: The Scientific Garden

The Botanical Gardens (Jardin de Plantes) in Nantes have been awarded the title of “Jardin Remarquable” (garden of exception), and are also one of the four largest in France. They showcase 10,000 species/varieties, 800square meters of hot houses, and over 50,000 flowers are planted each year.

The collections have grown over the past 150 years, and are renowned worldwide, for camellias in particular.  The Jardin the Plantes also strives to protect and reintroduce rare plants.

A portion of the Gardens is dedicated to the green houses as well as a showcase for organizing, labeling, and experimenting with many species of plants.

Several greenhouses, both humid and dry, house tropical plants.  There is also a conservatory style café and a welcome center.

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A lawn arae is divided up to showcase individual flowering plants, all of which are labeled and referenced, lantanas, Buenos aires verbena, geraniums, begonias,  etc

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Another area features a meliferous “butterfly” garden, to foster pollination in the gardens.

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Other plants are grown in various grid combinations and organized by species (ferns,  grasses …)

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Raised beds include herbal and edible plants, as well as new varieties of grapevines being developed for wine growing.

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The edge of the scientific garden features espaliered trees and vines such as this kiwi vine (actinidia)

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