Nothing to see here...

26 September, 2013

Finishing up my mega European holiday in Paris has been no hardship for me. And while there have been many sights, lots of walking, a few shopping expiditions and quite a few delicious pastry based sweets, there hasn't been much veg garden happenings.

This has not been through a lack of trying on my part. I particularly went to the Jardin des Plantes because it has a veg potager.

Not worthwhile. I don't recommend it. For one, it was tiny and tucked in an out of the way manner between two buildings. Given the space of the overall gardens this was almost insulting. I'm surprised they bothered at all really.

Then it was obviously in need of a little love and attention. Also in direct contrast to the many other areas of the gardens, which were all much better tended. I like the scarecrow, though I would have liked it to be wearing a beret.

However, that said there were some worthwhile and/or interesting aspects of the potager.

A wealth of berries.

Cucumbers going to seed. They look exactly like mine did.

Yellow zucchini! I hope yours grow as well as these Louise. The ribbon would be in the bag.

An interesting way to train tomatoes.

I have this exact same variegated sage. Is it just me that gets excited to see something I grow in another garden as well? Gardeners solidarity I suspect.

Overall it was a disappointment though.

The only other veg gardening I came across was in an alley in the depths of the 15th arrondissement. It seemed to be a community garden, though a little neglected perhaps.

While it was a bit scruffy, it was unpretentious and, in its own way, charming.

Some ripe and many green tomatoes.

Nice looking pumpkin. This looks very similar to a variety I've grown before called Potimarron.

However, while not veg garden related, I wholeheartedly recommend visiting the Promenade Plantee if you happen to be in Paris. It's a garden that has been developed on a raised train line that's no longer in use. It is what the similar garden in New York was baised on. It's wonderful.

Walking along the garden in line with the heights of the town houses lining the streets gives an entirely different feeling to any of the regular parks. I loved it.

Loire valley veg garden inspiration #5...

22 September, 2013

Well, they do say save the best 'til last. And here is the big daddy of veg gardens...


Villandry has a nine bed formal garden of interplanted veg and ornamentals, which apparently dates back to the middle ages. Check out the website for a great aerial shot which really shows the layout.

This was the best I could do. The remaining three beds on the right are blocked by the house. Sorry.

This sign gives a good run down of they layout though.

Each bed had its own sign and detailed layout. Here are some of my favourites.

I'm amazed how neat these pumpkins are.

I'm not sure if I prefer ornamental cabbages or real ones. 

I love the diagonal layout of this one.

I like how there is an empty bed waiting for new planting.

I love the kale and black capsicums against the red flowers.

Loire valley veg garden inspiration #4...

18 September, 2013

As I travel around the Loire Valley and profile the various veg gardens I come across, mostly I'm checking out general veg gardens with a range of garden veg growing.

Not so this one. This is the garden of the Chateau de la Bourdaisier.

Here they specialise in tomatoes. They grow 640 odd varieties of them in the massive walled garden. And I thought my paltry 50 tomato varieties was excessive. Tis nothing.

Sadly I couldn't take photos of all 640. But I did take a lot and here is a small selection.

The tomatoes are grown in a variety of methods.

Most were grown up tripods like this.

Some were grown up straight poles.

There were some standout varieties for me.

Never see this one in Australia.

This one was massive. It's name is Jaune A Farcir.

Name is self explanatory. I love the shape and colour.

I love how this one lives up to its name. Didn't see many toms though.

And lastly, a little taste of what they do with all the produce.

Loire valley veg garden inspiration #3...

16 September, 2013

In this informal and utterly incomplete review of veg gardens in the Loire Valley of France I came across one that was unexpected. The veg garden at Clos Luce.

Clos Luce was, among other things over its history, the last home of Leonardo Da Vinci. The chateau was offered to him as a home, along with a pension, by the french king Francis I and it was here that he finished some of his most well known paintings here, including the infamous Mona Lisa (which I fully intend to see for myself later on in my trip when I'm in Paris). It now is a museum mostly focused on his works as an inventor, with the gardens scattered with replicas of his inventions. It is fascinating.

But, as I discovered on my visit, it also includes a vegetable garden.

Turns out Leonardo Da Vinci was also a botanist. I had no idea.

I really liked the feel of this garden. It had a really homey feel, almost like there was someone living in the chateau and this was their main vegetable food source.

Yet another rustic arbour. I like this one too.

I can't see any sort of planting system here. It all looks a bit mixed, but I love the mayhem.

I like the raised beds in raised beds.

What a cool chicken house.

And for those out there who are interested in the inventions, here are my favourites.
The helicopter. Plus peacock.

One of many bridge designs (some were early suspension bridges. Amazing.)

A tank and cannon. Out of sight is the machine gun.

Hard to see, but this one draws up water. It works too!

Loire valley veg garden inspiration #2...

15 September, 2013

As you will be aware from my last post I'm currently cycling my way along the Loire a Velo cycling track in the gorgeous Loire Valley of France. This is an area filled with chateaux galore, many of which have some pretty amazing gardens. But the ones I've prioritised visiting (as you must do; there are hundreds of chateaux in this region) are the ones with veg gardens, which I shall be profiling for your reading pleasure.

Witness exhibit 2: Cheverny.

The veg garden here was much more relaxed than that at Chaumont, but charmingly so. There was still the geometric garden bed layout of traditional gardens (apparently this had historical links to monastery veg patches) with edges of box hedging, but with intermingled veg and flowers which is right up my alley.