Thursday, May 17, 2007

Potager Paradise

Today started off rather dull and gloomy and it was a bit nippy as well, around 14 C. In the late afternoon the sun came out and I felt like working in the potager aka the ornamental kitchen garden. It is south facing, very sheltered and even on a not so warm day it is nice to work there as long as the sun is out.

The sun is already quite strong this time of year, so very soon the air warmed up and it was very nice to be out and about in the sun again. The birds thought so too because quite a lot of them were merrily chirping and chattering away.

The path above leads to the potato bed and my 3 sisters bed behind it. The potatoes are growing fast and furious now, courtesy of all that rain we've been having lately.
They are almost ready to flower and as soon as they do there's only 2 to 3 weeks til harvest time. Can't wait to get the tatties from this plot onto my plate!
The 3 sisters bed planted with squash, corn and beans is growing away merrily too. I'm very curious to see how this will all work out as this is my first 3 sisters bed ever. It needs some weeding though, I will probably do that this weekend.

Such a cheerful sight my cold frames filled with salads for the plate and Sweet Williams for the vase. In the background the broad beans have almost finished flowering. Hopefully we'll have several nice harvests of broad beans this year as they are one of my favorite vegetables.
The herb bed is growing like there's no tomorrow too. Love that combination of the yellow flowers of the rue and the lilac flowers of the chives.
This is Satureja montana, a herb that goes very well with broad beans. Just pick a handful of leaves and sprinkle over your cooked broad beans; a match made in heaven.
Last year we planted a plum tree (Opal) in the potager and I am happy to say that it flowered this year. And look what's growing on it, can't wait to get a taste of that once it's ripe.

The potager is slowly turning into a jungle, everything is so lush and green. It smells so nice too! The herb bed is close to the path and it's fun to run your hands through the lavender or fennel. A good garden is not only a joy to behold but also a feast for the nose and very tactile too. The added bonus of a potager is that you can eat most of what grows there. What more could you possible ask for? My terracotta pot runneth over!
The chives are doing really great, frame the path very nicely and the flowers are nice in a salad. Do you see that little blob, on the left of the pot? Guess what that is?
A little frog that had come out to play in the rain before but was caught on camera while he was basking in the sun afterwards. Cute little fellow, isn't he? And he's good at keeping the slug population down in my potager as well.
The strawberries are growing and will start to ripen soon. Hopefully I will get a taste of them before my cat Pippa does as she loves strawberries, or the birds do as they love strawberries as well.

As per usual I was under strict supervision, but this time my supervisor got a bit distracted. It's funny how some cats go bananas and others have no reaction to catnip whatsoever. I grow catnip in the potager for my cats because all nine of them love it too bits.
Have a lovely weekend everyone!

The Catnip Dance

Oh, the catnip dance, the catnip dance
Come and join the catnip dance
Leap in the air and then touch down
And away we go, around and around
Fly away, fly away, higher and higher
With a catnip flame and a catnip fire
Roll in the catnip
Whirl in the catnip
Pirouette and prance
Come along, come along, come along
All cats join the catnip dance.
Paul Gallico, Honourable Cat


Layanee said...

YE: I have never heard of that herb, satureja, before. What does it taste like? I like the way the frog posed for you!

marl1 said...

Dat ziet er allemaal veelbelovend, smakelijk uit! En Pippa dol op aardbeien...haha.Die malle poezen, hier ligt de buurkat wel eens zeer lui bij de valeriaan- ook zo'n mooi gezicht.Je potager lijkt me een heerlijk plekje om in te werken...
Warm & droog weekend gewenst :-)

Pam/Digging said...

What is a 3 sisters bed, YE?

Birgit said...

Auch wenn ich mich nun wiederhole, immer interessante und schöne Fotos bei Dir zu sehen. Niedlich der Frosch. Die pinkigen Digitalis liebe ich sehr. Schön auch Deine lila Azalee im Topf und erst die Hagley Clematis. Die Iris in apricot gefällt mir einfach super und Deine Rosen blühen ja wirklich schon sehr schön. Bei uns sind es erst vereinzelte Blüten. Ich wünsche Dir ein schönes Wochenende, liebe Grüße Birgit

Molly said...

I love your potager, especially the way you have flowers growing in with the vegetables. Everything is so much farther along than in my garden!

Carol said...

I love that you have planted a three sisters bed. I think I'll plant one, too, and let's compare how they look. Of course, mine will be about a month behind yours. I'll plant it this weekend!

A wildlife gardener said...

What a great potager, bursting with juicy veggies and herbs...wonderful! I love the catnip poem too!

firefly said...

Nine cats, and they all get along ... you really are extraordinary, Yolanda Elizabet! And your garden is absolutely beautiful too. I also love that flowers and veggies are planted side by side.

Do you have "toad houses" to attract the frogs, or is that not necessary?

Piana Nanna said...

I plead ignorance. I don't know where I have been. What is a 3 sister's bed? Never heard of it.

Annie in Austin said...

Hi Yolanda,

My guess is that your Satureja montana is the herb we call in the USA call savory. Although it's not very common over here anymore, I used to grow it myself to use with beans.

When we grew the three sisters, it took summer heat to make the corn shoot up fast enough to form the support for the twining beans. Do you use special varieties of corn in your milder weather? You're right, it's very interesting!

Your potager is so tidy, charming and precise - qualities that allow it to fit in with the rest of your garden. Even the potatoes are decorative~

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

RUTH said...

What a fabulous potager. I bet you can't wait for those first potatoes. A beautiful garden. We call Satureja montana (Winter) Savoury like Annie.

Thalia said...

It's such a delight to look at your kitchen garden. It looks wonderful. The Catnip song is great fun!

Kylee said...

I can almost smell the greenness!

Our cats love catnip, too. I had a very large section of it in the garden that I had to keep a 'cage' over so they didn't eat it to the ground. Our crazy winter wiped it out this year! I've never had that happen before. I'm going to have to get some more for the kitties!

Steffie said...

Leuk dat je op mijn log was. Kom natuurlijk meteen even bij jou kijken omdat ik nu eenmaal nieuwsgierig ben. Ik zie dat je niet alleen in het engels schrijft maar ook op engelse wijze tuiniert. Ben heel benieuwd hoe het verder gaat met je three sisters bed. Heb daar vaak over gelezen maar heb het nooit zelf geprobeerd. Ik kom dus terug.

Alice said...

Yolanda - I loved the photos of your very green and lush vegetable garden, something we've not seen here for such a long time due to the drought.

I'm curious - what is a 3 Sister's garden?

Libbys Blog said...

I had planned a 3 sisters bed, but not sure I will have room!!! I can see I've made some mistakes on placing of plants this year so will sort that out later!! I will get there eventually!!

Gotta Garden said...

Hi YE: When is lunch??! Just kidding! What a delight your potager (of course, it would be!) is! I thought of you and restrained myself from buying a few things I could easily grow from seed. Of course, I will actually have to plant the seed...not just collect!

I grew some blue potatoes in a large pot once (Did I tell you this before??! If so, please forgive my memory lapse!)...did pretty well. I could mound up as they grew. Funny, though, the next year I used the pot for something else...but potatoes grew in it, too...I missed a few! They were a pleasant surprise. Don't know why I haven't done that again, actually.

I see you will have to give a bit of a history lesson re Three Sisters! Now that I think of it, I think you mentioned it also when you first planted it/them? There's a nice bit on it/them on the gardenweb faqs also.

But, one of the reasons I came over (besides the wonderful pictures I always find and the entertaining writing!), I put up a quickie post of the pics you requested. Please forgive me for not going into more detail...although, I'm starting to think I should have...but, you know...I am trying to perfect that 10 minute!

Take care and have a good weekend!

Susan said...

Your kitchen garden is inspiring, Yolanda Elizabet. And who knew potato plants were so lovely (I'm sure everyone else knew but me, actually, but I've never grown many vegetables). And I love the look of those chives. And the toad. I have a toad house in my garden that my daughter made in school but I've never actually seen a toad in it!.

-- Susan from South of the River

Marga said...

Wat een mooie blog heb jij.
Ik vind je pottager er heel goed uitzien. En wat ligt je kat er lekker lui te genieten. Kom zeker nog eens terug.
Fijn weekend, groetjes Marga

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi all and welcome to Bliss!

Layanee: perhaps you do know it as savory? Cute frog, eh?

Marleen: Pipje houdt van alle fruit behalve citrusvruchten. Jij ook een warm en vooral droog weekend!

Pam: LOL

Birgit: I'm glad you liked all the flowers. Nice to hear that your roses are starting to flower too. Looking forward to seeing that on your blog.Have a lovely and dry weekend!

Molly: that is the fun of a potager; you grow vegetables and fruit but mix them with flowers so that it is both pretty and tasty.

Carol: what a lovely idea, please do! And of course it doesn't matter that yours will be about a month behind, it's not like we're having a competition. Looking forward to see what's going to happen with your 3 sisters bed on your blog!

WG: a potager provides you with lots of tasty things and they're very healthy too because I grow everything organically. Paul Gallico wrote so many lovely poems and books about cats! He is one of those people who understand cats very well. If you haven't read his books about cats yet, you are in for a treat. The Silent Miaow is great and so is this book of cat peoms: Honourable Cat.

Firefly: there are lots of frogs at Bliss, I think that is because our neighbours have a pond that is teeming with them. Hopefully there will be a pond at Bliss this year too. I have no toad houses but I always have places like an open compostheap, a pile of branches etc. for toads, hedgehogs and such to hide and overwinter in. I do not tidy my garden up at the end of Autumn either but leave everything the way it is.

Piana Nanna: giggle! Not to worry I didn't know what a 3 sisters bed was either, until quite recently.
It is the traditional way of growing 3 companion plants together in 1 bed: corn, squash and beans. This was done by the women of the Iroquoi (sp?) indians first, a loooooong time ago. The beans provide the nitrogen for both the corn and the squash, the corn provides the stalks for the beans to climb in and the squash stops the earth from drying out too quickly with its leaves. And it keeps the weeds down too.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi everybody and welcome to Bliss!

Annie: thanks for giving the common name of this herb. I found a website that advised to get the corn started earlier than the beans so that is what I did. If the corn is still too low then I'll put in bamboo canes for the beans. That the potatoes are decorative is purely by accident. :-)

Ruth: thanks! I put in the botanical name because I wasn't sure of the English common name for this herb. I'll be sure to blog about the first tatties! :-)

Thalia: Paul Gallico has written many lovely things about cats, both poems and books. Go check him out, you won't regret it.

Kylee: you are right of course, first rule of gardening: get catnip for the kitties! Mine is white flowered, very pretty.

Steffie: je bent uiteraard van harte welkom om zo vaak te komen kijken als je wilt. Het 3 zusters bed is voor mij ook een nieuwe ervaring.

Alice: see my answer to Piana Nanna. Still no rain? Not good.

Libby: of course you will, no doubt about it! And there is already so much going on in your garden which is lovely!

GG: if only we could have lunch together!

No you didn't tell me this before but how lovely that it all went so smoothly and you had some tasty tatties to eat. :-)

Thanks for that lovely post on your blog, I enjoyed it. Those Fringe trees are very beautiful, and the variegated Solomon's Seal is wow!

Susan: that potato plants can be so pretty came as a very nice surprise to me too. It's Red Duke of York that gives such lovely leaves.

Toads like it shady and humid, perhaps it is just too hot and dry for much of the year where you live?

Marga: leuk dat je er bent en kom gerust eens terug. Ja, Vita weet van het kattenleventje te genieten.

Anita said...

Thanks a lot for the wonderful tour, Yolanda! Well, you might already know how much I adore your kitchen garden but I can't stop writing it again and again!

When I look at your photos, I thing my little kitchen garden is just like a little "baby kitchen garden" since it's just 1,5 years old.

Oh, I neigbour offered me four little broccoli plants yesterday! I've never tried them so far, did you? They are now growing under four glas jars (as protection from the heavy wind).

Have a wonderful week-end en groetjes naar Nederland!


Entangled said...

Hmm, I see many ideas I'm going to borrow here, especially the rue/chives combination.

I'm imagining those fresh potatoes, sprinkled with chives, and thinking about dinner at 7 in the morning....

Ex-Shammickite said...

Oh what a lovely garden. I have a few flower beds and lots of grass. I am thinking I should start a herb garden. I already have chives, and I used to have mint but I dug it all out as it was starting to take over the world!

Carol said...

Oh my oh my Yolanda, can't believe all that's growing in your paradise! You are so lucky to have such a wonderful garden! What a great tour through your kitchen garden that was! Happy Sunday! Carol xox

Hillside Garden said...

Hi, your vegetable garden ist realy beautiful. I'm so sorry, that I've not got one.
The garden is to small.
The frog ist lovely, my Mr. Wonderful has an iron one.


Naturegirl said...

Yolanda this is sheer bliss to come by and see your kitchen garden I can only wish to have one as beautiful! I will settle for potting my herbs.Oh to see the kitty and the frog well that just captured my heart as I always have kitties and frogies in my summer garden!Love stoping by! Happy day! hugs NG

exile61 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
exile61 said...

Very strange, so here I go again. I learned something new - "Three sisters garden". How much space do you have in your garden to do all this with vegetables and flowers? It is just beautiful. We are growing some berries - like blueberries, raspberries and the like on one side. It brings back childhood memories of my grandmother's garden. This year I put some tomatoes in pots again as I have done at our old house and am looking forward to harvest those. Oh, I have a surprise in my blog. Stop by when you have time. Andrea

Sanni said...

Hello Yolanda Elizabet!
Your garden looks just like a peace of paradise to me.

It´s strange thing with catnip. My two cat ladies couln´t care less about it. But I knew a cat ones, who wasn´t safe to be with, when he had had his catnip. He went really to a trip. He was my aunts cat and ones he grabed to my aunts wannabe-boyfriends pullover with all four feets. My aunt thought it could be fun to show that poor man how the cat behaves after having a bit of catnip :))That man didn´t agree, when my aunt was taking the dribbleing cat off his front. Well- I didn´t like the guy and obviously neither did the cat.

Carolyn said...

Wow! What a delightful garden. You have so many fantastic flowers and I love those organized looking vegetable frames. Beautiful work.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hello and welcome to Bliss everyone!

Anita: my kitchen garden is only slightly older than yours, about 2 years old now. I have tried broccoli before but it was not a success. Probably because I had sown them too late. This year I've run out of space, but next year I'll try again. Good luck with your broccoli!

Entangled: keep us posted about your potager! Love to see many pics of it.

Ex-Shammickite: a herb garden sounds lovely. I do believe that mint is trying for world domination ;-) so I've put it in a plastic pot and put it with pot and all in the ground. That way it won't take over all of the garden.

Carol: glad you enjoyed yourself on this little tour.

Sigrun: it is a pity that your garden is too small to have a potager as well, but it is still possible to grow lots of fruit, veggies and herbs in pots or amongst the flowers in the flowerbeds.

Nature girl: what would we do without a few pots with herbs, a cute kitty or two and the odd froggy in our gardens? :-)

Andrea: my potager is not so very big, about 90 square meters. I just cram a whole lot in and think of nifty ways to save on space. :-)

Sanni: there lived a cat with me once, her name was Wendy, who did not care for catnip, but all of the kitties that live at Bliss now, love catnip to bits.
Thanks for sharing that funny story about your auntie's cat, a very clever kitty by the sound of it.;-)

Carolyn: thank you, glad you liked it!

Bert said...

WEll Yolanda, everything has grown quite a bit! Thanks to the fresh rainshowers I guess? Soon you garden will be a jungle with a lot of tasty fruits and vegitables.
Love to eat with you.

Ki said...

I'm surprised your frog comes up on dry land! I hope your kitty doesn't get it!