The challenge, when you have a potager or ornamental kitchen garden, is to make the garden look attractive all year round.
Many gardeners think, just because you grow mainly veggies and fruit, your kitchen garden looks horribly dull for most of the year, especially in winter. But that is not the case at all.
Here's one of my beds, right next to the Victorian greenhouse and as you can see there's a lot going on there, even though it is still only early february. In the background you see the gorgeous leaves of the artichoke on the right and in front there's box on each corner, adding a bit of all year round interest. Smack in the middle of the bed is a gooseberry bush on a standard.
Here's another bed that I have just cleared the weeds from. There are some primula's in flower here and it won't be long before the daffodils begin to flower too. See?
My strawberry bed is more or less green all year round. I have to clear this bed up soon; it looks a bit of a mess right now.
One of the beds in front of the Victorian greenhouse is looking good too. The Bergenia is about to burst into flower, the box add a bit of green and in my coldframes the lettuces and radishes, I've recently sown, are coming up!
I'm not afraid of mixing and matching either clothes, furniture or plants. In this bed I've mixed rocket salad with Dutch Irises. And why not? This last bit of rocket will be harvested soon, leaving enough space for the Irises to grow.
When I started my potager the ground was heavy clay, fertile but not very well drained. Things are much improved after I worked in loads of compost. I keep finding more and more worms in the ground, which is great news of course.
Last weekend we had mostly sunny weather, although we had some hail on Saturday night, so we were able to work in the garden for most of the day. The Victorian greenhouse needed a good clean, you could hardly look through the windows anymore. See what I mean?
There, all better now!
Remember the elderberry that grew right in the middle of our hedge and had to come out? Well, it was time for it to be sawn and chopped into pieces.
Perhaps next winter the elderberry wood will be dry enough to be put into the woodburner.
My gorgeous green tipped Snowdrops in the potager are doing great. It's their first year and I am very pleased with them. The little flowers are gorgeous, like little jewels.
To make my potager look good all year round I use lots of evergreen plants but many ornaments as well. The Victorian greenhouse is not only very practical but beautiful too. Even my compost bins look good, as do all the arches, whether they are covered with flowers or not.See, it isn't so difficult to have an attractive kitchen garden all year round!
copyright 2008: Y.E.W. Heuzen