One of the main reasons that I moved to Provence was for the sunshine (and to see my friends Susie and Heather). Apparently, my new ‘hood gets 300 days of sunshine a year… And is designated as a Mediterranean climate. So, that is obviously a recipe for a vegetable garden or as they call it over here in Fraaaaance, a “potager.” The exact definition of a potager is the following…"A potager is a French-style ornamental kitchen garden. It is generally planned for a small space and formal in design, with mostly vegetables and fruit and some cut flowers. “
Sounds lovely, fancy and snobby. I’m doing it. Let's take at some inspirational potagers...
So this is my new project. To build a potager at my new house in Provence. I have even given myself a title, “Garden Boss.” Since I cannot physically do any of the work I will have to delegate the work to my caregivers (as if they don’t already have enough work). But I have assured them that this will be fun!
My first real experience with a proper potager was at Château Chenonceau outside of Paris. For the whole blog about the Château, titled Spread My Ashes at Chenonceau, click HERE, but for now let’s look at the Château’s potager…
How much experience do I have in the garden, you ask? About zero. I have only created one garden in my life but I can say with certainty that it was one of the most fulfilling projects I’ve ever done. The joy of planting something, tending to it and watching it grow was palpable.
This is me and the housekeeper, Francisca, in 2009 tending to our garden. Yes, I think it's best to garden in all white.
Look how hard I'm working... Oh wait, that's Francisca.
Moroccan mint for tea.
Lettuces for my California Pizza Kitchen Barbeque Chicken Salad.
Herbs for cooking and flower arrangements.
For my new garden I will have to start from absolute scratch. I have a perfect area to the left of my kitchen to create this new edible garden. First, I will have to start with the design. I decided that I want it to be in four parts with Willow edging and a birdbath in the center. Three of the four parts will be designated to my garden concept of: Green juice and ratatouille. Yep, green juice and ratatouille because that is basically what I live on (and gummy bears). The fourth part of the garden will be designated to my garden concept of: Flowers that look and smell pretty.
This is where the new potager will go...
So, the first section of my garden dedicated to juicing will have kale, cucumber, spinach, Swiss chard, beets and arugula. I also add lemon, carrots, fennel, turmeric, coconut oil, kiwi, ginger and green apples to my green juice but I will just have to buy that at the grocery store or the farmers market. I can only do so much!
The second section of my garden dedicated to ratatouille: eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash. I will get the garlic and onions from the farmers market.
The third section of my garden will be dedicated to herbs: Rosemary, thyme, savory, marjoram, basil, oregano, Moroccan mint, cilantro and I will also throw in some strawberries just for fun.
The fourth section of my garden will be for a cutting garden. Roses, roses and roses.
Considering that I probably got ALS from a toxic pesticide ridden raspberry, my garden will have to be completely organic. Should I compost? I don’t know if I think that’s gross or not...
How am I going to do all of this? I have absolutely no idea. But I am determined and I will educate myself through books, blogs and advice. Advice from all of you, my mother and my new secret weapon… My new caregiver in Provence happens to be the son of the gardener to the estate of Janet de Botton! You can bet your “Botton” dollar that I will be using that garden advice (and probably all of his tools) !
Dear Janet, can I come over? Love, Ellie
Stay tuned for updates!
*So glad you all liked the new and improved shop. The blue and white chinoiserie was a huge hit! I will continue to grow the shop week by week adding more products and lots more antiques. The shop will always be open now so feel free to shop at your leisure. Follow me on Instagram HERE to be the first in the know of new products and antique pieces and get the latest updates on the shop! All of your packages are being wrapped with love and will be sent out this week!