The potager is a large garden that surrounds the outside of our home. It has large gravel pathways and beds lined with local rocks. The garden beds flow like waves – nothing is straight or angular other than the rails that line the vegetable bed. In these gardens, we grow herbs, small vegetable crops, and flowers. This is the garden that showcases my roses. Each bed is filled to the brim with all manner of cottage flowers. Because these beds surround the house, they’re often the beds that get the most attention.
The courtyard gardens, once again, utilize large gravel pathways and beds lined with rocks. They showcase many of the same flowers that the potager does, though vegetables don’t make an appearance in this slightly more formal garden. The pathways are defined with flagstone and an outdoor eating area is set up amongst the flowers. It centers around a large juniper, which serves as the focal point. Because the soil under the courtyard was so poor (it had previously been covered by an old deck), we opted to raise the beds a bit up off the ground by mounding new, rich soil and lining the beds with rocks to retain it. Because of this bad soil, we also grow many things in pots in the courtyard, such as a crab apple tree, herbs, and succulents.
The Greenhouse Gardens:
When we moved into our home, the entire area to the left of the cottage was grass. It took a few years, but we finally were able to rip it all out and replant the entire area. We affectionately call it the “greenhouse gardens” because it’s where we decided to build a permanent greenhouse/potting shed for all of my gardening equipment and seed starting supplies. The greenhouse gardens are now home to two small ponds, a streamlined with Creeping Jenny and succulents, a few David Austin roses, more perennials than I could ever begin to name, an almond tree, an immature hardy persimmon tree, and a small heirloom apple tree. This garden has many more years to travel before it will be a full, mature garden that Monty Don would approve of, but it’s certainly far better than grass!
Building a Small Garden Pond
The Market Garden:
The market garden was born out of a need to grow more of our food supply. There are certain vegetables, such as carrots and beets, that we require much more than the small potager garden could supply. A small flat spot in a gully at the top of the property became home to our market garden rows. These rows are 30” wide (the width of my broadfork and rack) and are separated by 18” pathways. The pathways are lined with weed paper and covered with mulch to reduce weeds. In these rows, we are able to grow a year's supply of carrots, beets, potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, peppers, yellow onions, purple onions, garlic, shallots, parsnips, okra, basil, squash, and whatever other odds-and-ends I decide to plant. The market garden has revolutionized how much we can grow – I only wish we would have built it sooner!
The Meadow Garden:
The meadow garden is currently a large patch of perennials grasses, wild flowers, European white birch trees, and fruit trees. We used to keep our pigs on the same plot of land so it’s certainly fertilized enough! Though we have large plans for this plot of land in the future, we’re giving it a few years rest to ensure we can execute the design well and to allow the trees to get a bit more established. In the future, this completely open bit of land will serve as the location for a large pond and “woodland” type garden that will feature shade plants, hidden pathways, and secret gardens.