What is a Potager?

The jardin potager is the French kitchen garden. Potager literally means “for the soup pot” in French and carries with it a philosophy of living with the seasons. So the soup pot changes throughout the year. In the spring radishes, mustards and peonies for the table. The hot summer is time for tomatoes, peppers and basil with daisies in the vase; as the days shorten and cool the flavors get deeper and richer as we harvest pumpkins, Brussell’s sprouts and kale. The potager, as the French have known for centuries, is a designed useful and beautiful garden where we grow edible and non-edible flowers, herbs, fruit and vegetables.

I have photographed some of the most beautiful potagers in the world in my book Designing the New Kitchen Garden: An American Potager Handbook published by Timber Press.