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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Our Potager {Garden} and Oasis

If you enter through this gate, you will find a woman, wearing the ugliest sunny.yellow.rubber garden shoes you've ever seen, watering, weeding, harvesting, planting, picking, and swatting at ginormous mosquitos. If it's in the early morning hours, her face will be au natural, her hair will be in a messy French braid, and her outfit will most likely not even match--quelle horreur!
If you crane your neck to look beyond the over grown, mammoth tomato bushes, you will find a sweet little girl hunched over a raised bed feeding her toy alligator fragrant lavender buds and moist dirt.
Two winters ago, we did a complete overhaul on our vegetable garden.
Before, it consisted of four black tubs with a handful of summer vegetables plants--quite tiny and unsubstantial.
a dreary and dead before image

So we decided to create a long, narrow garden area along the side of our house, where the plants would be bathed in hours of direct sunlight.
Notice the airconditioning unit--That wasn't going anywhere, so we had to work around it.

In a short time frame of 16 months our family has created and enjoyed our new oasis- le potager, le jardin, garden, or whatever word we choose to call it in the moment.
Potager as of May 2012

Our newly constructed garden has been a family project. And as many of you may have already realized, that's how most of my projects (birthday parties, chicken coops, etc.) get accomplished.
Mr. à la parisienne is once again the champion of this garden redo.
Aside from much of the grunt work you can't see in these images, he built the fence and all of the wooden raised beds. My dad, who has been gardening since I was a young girl, works in the garden with me every time he comes for a visit. No matter the odd job, he's always willing to help, and it's been a perfect father-daughter hobby for us to share. 
When the weather is mild and the mosquitos are nonexistent, we tote a few extra chairs to the garden and eat breakfast alfresco.

The "dining area" of the potager is still incomplete. In this space, I hope to add a few smaller raised beds for roses and flowers, a couple more vintage, weather resistant chairs for seating, and a large vintage inspired sunbrella to shade us from the evening sun.

vintage cobalt bottles hold simple clippings from the garden

I enjoy changing the outdoor décor with coordinating vintage table cloths, bowls, and vases.
The cobalt bottle on the left is a little treasure I picked up in a flea market in Madrid, Spain for five Euros.
trellised Asian cucumber

Two thirds of the fence is constructed of wire fencing for better airflow and to maximize our growing space.
Along the wire fencing, I plant climbing vegetables and flowers such as pole beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, roses, and morning glories.
a plump green bell pepper awaiting it's destiny

As many of my posts go, they are long overdue. I had plans to share our new garden design last summer, but wanted to wait until more of the design was complete.
And since I photographed these images at the end of May, a month has passed, and the potager is now even more thick and lush...

garden as of June 2012

The tomato plants are now "the forest," Amelia's official term, and we enjoy getting lost in them everyday.

images by à la parisienne


Anne said...

What a beautiful garden.Oh we have so much work to do.Your garden is such an inspiration!

A Gift Wrapped Life said...

Can you please send Mr. Parisienne here as I could really use some good help...........he looks to be a keeper for all your projects Mandy! I would love this potager garden and you may have solved my problem with a vegetable garden. I just wasn't looking at this right and here it is! I love the raised beds and pea stone and so lush, it must be tended quite well, french braid and all. I just might get to figuring it out now. Enjoy your veggies. Much love XO

dustjacket said...

Oh just loving what you both have done, amazing.

Lorrie said...

J'adore ton potager - c'est tres charmant.

Cindy said...

Oh my gosh, it's glorious! What you've done almost brings tears to my eyes... So, powerful to take a barren spot like that and create so much bounty, and not only that, but a place lush and green and where memories are made and your daughter can play in a forest of tomatoes and pole beans...


June said...

It is perfect Mandy!!! I love how you have made this space a retreat for you all. Things are growing awesome there in your garden and I know that gives your family a lot of satisfaction.

LandHausLeben said...

Wonderful pictures! Greetings, Carmen

polkadotpeticoat said...

Your garden is beautiful and I love your vintage wall vase in the first photo.....its so unique!

Donna said...

Oh Mandy!
It's simply divine! I love your new potager! I can just envision you and Amelia out there among the tomato plants (forest)!
Enjoy my friend! I will think of you this morning as I plant another row of carrots for Early Autumn eating

Karena said...

Mandy it is a treasured space I can tell, with so much family love put into the garden! Lush and leafy, perfect!!

Art by Karena

Daphne Nicole & Lynda Cade said...

Oh Mandy, what an adsolutely beautiful garden!
Hugs~~~ Daphne

Tania, The Old French Doors said...

Its just gorgeous, and looks like just an enjoyable space to be in. Isnt it amazing how much it grew in just a month.,
Thanks for sharing it with us..

Corrina said...

Hi Mandy, so inspiring to see your potager- mine is in serious need of an overhaul and I feel like I should attack it this winter- however right now I am recovering from a very serious flu that has had me bed ridden for over a week. Today I have just enough energy to check out my friends blogs- great to visit your vege patch while I feel so rotten- it cheered me up! xxCorrina.

vicki archer said...

Such a fabulous transformation... wonderful.. I can imagine how lovely it is to be out there in the early mornings for a quiet breakfast... xv

perlange said...

Votre jardin est une belle réussite
bisous (de france)
dorothée (les petits bonheurs de dorothée)

vivereitaliano said...

Wonderful! A kiss from Italy.

Palomasea said...

Mandy, what a gorgeous oasis you have created! It is inspiring to know what can be accomplished with love and hard work...
- Irina

koralee said...

This is wonderful my friend!!!!! Oh my how I would love to have this little piece of heaven. xoxoxo Hope your Summer is off to a great start.

Ioana Carmen said...

love it, so different !

Fashion Spot

Parisienne Farmgirl said...


French Country Gal said...

How beautiful, you've given me hope for our new home and garden, right now we have a forest out there with who knows what living in it, I won't dare walk among the weeds fear of something grabbing me. UGH!

Simply Mel {Reverie} said...

mandy, wow! seriously, you and aaron have outdone yourselves! this is amazing! i'm so proud of you. isn't it great to be able to eat directly from the garden? we are harvesting a plethora of tomatoes, arugula, cauliflower, kale, cucumbers and beans. i'm holding out hope for our one little watermelon. it's my most prized possession right now. the figs are taking forever to ripen. so strange. normally, we are onto our second harvest by now. apples and pears are already off the tree. go figure?!