Wednesday, February 7, 2007

My Organic Ornamental Kitchen Garden

This is something that I've dreamt of since 1990 when I watched Geoff Hamilton create an ornamental kitchen garden on Gardener's World (BBC2). It looked so nice and natural to combine flowers and shrubs with fruit and vegetables. What a brilliant idea to mix flowers and cabbages! Unfortunately I had no space for a garden like that at the time and had to wait for over 15 years before I could finally go ahead and grow one!

Geoff's beautiful Barnsdale gardens you can find at

These are pictures of my ornamental kitchen garden (OKG) from last year when I first started to grow my OKG (at last! hurrah!!), which explains why things looked a bit bare back then. In the first picture there's a great big gaping hole (top left hand corner) that is now nicely filled up by my greenhouse (another dream come true).

In the OKG I wanted something nice to look at all year long, so I planted some evergreens such as box and bay leaf but also bulbs to add some colour in early spring, as you can see here. But of course the most important things I grow here organically are fruit and vegetables. And my whole garden is grown organically, not just the OKG.

I got a bunch of tulip bulbs from a friend who couldn't remember what colour they were. And of course, as luck would have it, some of them were orange! Gaaaaaa, I hate orange! Oh well, after they had finished flowering, I dug them up, let them dry a bit and then gave them to my dad who absolutely loves all garish er vibrant colours.

As my kitchen garden is not all that big (about 90 square meters), I grow fruits like white currants and gooseberries on standards so they won't take up all that much space. Next to the orange (gaaa) tulips you can see one of my standard gooseberries. And because they are standards it also very easy to pick the berries when it's time to harvest them.

And here's what it's really all about: growing your own vegetables and fruit organically. The spinach, next to the cold frames, is about to be harvested. And yes, it was very tasty ! Veggies and fruit from your own organic garden taste delicious. Eating peas straight from the pod is pure bliss. You haven't lived if you've never experienced how real food tastes!

I know a little garden close
Set thick with lily and red rose
Where I would wander if I might
From dewy dawn to dewy night
And have one with me wandering.
William Morris

We had some more frost last night and this morning it was a slightly foggy. Now the sun is out and it's 4.4 C. Yesterday we had some sun, some rain, a bit of sleet and the maximum temperature was 6.9 C so it's getting colder.

1 comment:

Annie in Austin said...

Thank you for coming to visit my garden blog, Yolanda Elizabet.

Your Kitchen garden certainly is ornamental! I love the way the stone paths surround the beds, setting off the plants and giving year-round structure. Also, I would not mind the orange tulips~

Ninety square meters sounds pretty big - ours is less than one-third that size. You have room to experiment.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose