Monday, February 17, 2014

Structure Ideas from a Potager Garden in Paris

Simultaneous with thinking about what seeds to order, are the dreams of what to build this year for things to grow on. These structures have to have an overall plan for good affect, and so planning with pencil and paper is a good place to start. Here are a few ideas I have been thinking about from a visit to Parc de Bercy in Paris.

 This garden was created in the 90's and so I felt it was something that might be possible to recreate. Often in countries with long histories, the gardens are so old that I realize there is small hope that my garden will ever look like theirs. This garden is different. First, as always the French start with boxwoods. Boxwood borders and boxwood on pots.

This can be more difficult than you think. Not to grow boxwoods, because they are easy to grow, but to restrain oneself at the garden center from buying all sorts of interesting annuals for the pots. The French know, put your effort in the garden, not the pots. Simple is better!

Here is a great example of thinking large. This trellis made of found wood spans the walkway and creates an arbor mid -garden. Even if the plants didn't grow up it, the structure carries it off on its own. Notice the use of different colors and textures too in this bed. Red chard, escarole and morning glories all getting along harmoniously!

And in September, even the seed heads are ornamental! Can you guess what beautiful poofs those are in the foreground? Artichokes gone to seed! They are only an edible thistle after all! To do this in Maine, you would have to time it extremely right. Artichokes are a biennial that aren't hardy..but...I have grown seedlings from Snell Family Farm that have been tricked into thinking that it is their second year by giving them a dose of cold exposure mid-winter. They have fruited...and I would like to dream that they could go to seed if uneaten. But really, in Maine, if you can grow an artichoke in your garden, you will eat it!

Here is another picture of a simple pyramid that anyone can do with 4-6 long bamboo stakes. This is a nice way to show off your trailing nasturtiums without them growing everywhere. Again this shows how alternating the color and texture of plants helps so much in the overall visual plan. Ok, food for thought! Next post will have to be about seeds.

1 comment: