Tag Archives: kitchen garden

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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In Blain: A Medieval Kitchen Garden

I came across a lovely medieval style garden in the town of Blain in southern Brittany (France). The beds are bordereded with a traditional edging of woven branches. Some are used to grow vegetables, others have  aromatics or medicinal plants of all kinds, as well as some old fashioned and all but forgotten plants. The garden is still fairly young, but grapevines are growing along the wall,  as well as on the arbor behind.

Woven edging is called “bordure en Plessis” in French, and is most commonly done using willow, because the twigs or branches are both long and very flexible. Wicker is also fairly common especially for tighter and more even weaves. Hazelnut branches may on occasion be used as well for a more rustic look.

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