A fairytale kitchen garden, or potager, contains a mixture of flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables. This type of garden is based on a french parterre style, with the formal structure a lovely contrast to the chaos of the typical vegetable garden.
Think about what you want to see as you look at the garden from outside…and while you’re sitting or working inside. Add a bench or table and chairs (or both) so you can enjoy the space. Part of the beauty of any fairytale garden is being in the garden, surrounded by color, fragrance and the sounds of the insects, birds and even small animals that call it home.
Creating paths around the beds is part of the charm, but make sure you can actually walk on them. Grass is soft, but blocks or bricks will stand up to heavier traffic. Gravel is another choice, but make sure it’s compacted, so garden carts can roll across. Maintenance is a big part of any kitchen garden, but remember…it’s pretty, so you want to be out there!
Adding a fence around the kitchen garden provides another element of the design. Not only does it define the garden, but it gives an excellent space for fruits, shrubs and flowers to grow along the inside perimeter. And if desired, a decorative background for plants on the outside.
Traditionally, parterres were observed from a chateau, which had more than one floor. Bedrooms were often on the upper floors, so consider how the garden will look from above. Drawing a garden plan on graph paper is a great way to start. And be sure to consider views through the garden, as well.
Finally, remember to include arbors, arches, pergolas, trellises, anything vertical for the plants to grow on. This provides interest and gives sun loving vegetables and flowers a chance to reach more light. Using arches at the entrances will create the magical ‘in between’ space for fairies…just make sure one entrance is large enough to bring in carts and if allergies are a problem, avoid the bees. Pollinators are wonderful and important to have in the garden, just not at the entrance. Enjoy the space!