Gardening 101 ~ 10 Hardy Vegetables to Plant in Zones 4 & 5 in April~ PLUS Bonus Garden Tips!

“I grow plants for many reasons: to please my eye or to please my soul, to challenge the elements or to challenge my patience, for novelty or for nostalgia, but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow.” ― David Hobson

Spring is finally here, and if you’re a newbie or avid gardener, you’re probably itching to get your hands in the dirt. Of course many of you know I started several of my seeds indoors early in March, but now it’s time to plant outdoors!  

But wait! If you live in zones 4 and 5 like I do, where the winters are harsh & the growing season is short, you may be wondering which vegetables are hardy enough to survive the cold temperatures. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of cold hardy veggies you can grow! In today’s blog post, I’m going  to discuss my top 10 cold hardy vegetables to plant in zones 4 and 5 this April. From beautiful heirloom lettuces & leafy greens to root vegetables, I’ve got you covered. Not only will these vegetables survive the cold weather, but they’ll also thrive and produce delicious, nutrient-rich crops for you and your family to enjoy. So grab your gardening gloves and let’s get started!

To watch this episode tune into my YouTube Channel!

If you enjoyed this blog , please LIKE, Follow, Share & leave me a comment! I love your feedback!

Here are the links I mentioned:

Raised Bed Gardening Part 1 Part 2
Companion Planting
Container Gardening
How to build a cold frame
Planning Your Garden
Italian Wedding Soup
Tuscan Soup
Podcast with Tim Travis & Jean on Pollinator Gardens & Natural Habitats
Pollinator Gardens
Root Storage Crop Recipes

If you enjoyed this blog , please LIKE, Follow, Share & leave me a comment! I love your feedback!

If you aren’t following me on Facebook & Instagram, go on over & give a LIKE & Follow me for daily tips & tricks for your home & garden!

Until next time friends be sure to eat fresh, shop local, & have a happy day,


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Gardening 101~ How-to Create a beautiful Cottage Style Pollinator Garden with Both Annuals & Perennials!

“From plants that wake when others sleep, from timid jasmine buds that keep their odor to themselves all day, but when the sunlight dies away let the delicious secret out to every breeze that roams about. ” Thomas Moore

Over the years I’ve shown  you oodles of photo’s of my gardens, and have always stressed my love of the cottage garden. That love has not waned once over the years. I have always been fascinated with the charm of a cottage garden. And what better way to create a stunning cottage garden than by incorporating pollinator-friendly plants in it? 

In today’s blog post, I’ll start by walking you through the steps to create a beautiful cottage style pollinator garden with both annuals and perennials.

But before we get rolling, be sure to SUBSCIBE below so you don’t miss an episode!

Cottage Style Pollinator Gardens

One of the main reasons I’ve always been drawn to the cottage garden is its informal and relaxed appearance, along with a mix of colorful flowers and foliage plants. These gardens are often associated with old-world charm, and the inclusion of pollinator-friendly plants can make them even more appealing.

Pollinator gardens are designed to attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other beneficial insects, which help in pollinating plants, ensuring a bountiful harvest, and keeping the ecosystem in balance.

Let’s Look at the Importance of Pollinator Gardens

Pollinator gardens are essential for supporting the health and survival of our planet’s ecosystem. According to the Pollinator Partnership, pollinators are responsible for over 75% of the world’s food crops, and without them, our food supply would be severely impacted.

Pollinators are also crucial for maintaining the biodiversity of our planet, as they help in the reproduction of plants, which in turn provide food, shelter, and habitat for other wildlife.

What are the Benefits of Using Both Annuals and Perennials in Your Garden?

Annuals and perennials are two types of plants that can be used in pollinator gardens. Annuals are plants that complete their life cycle in one growing season, where perennials come back year after year. It’s beneficial to incorporate both as annuals usually fill in with blooms in between the bloom cycles of your perennials.

Using a mix of both annuals and perennials in your garden can provide several benefits. Annuals bloom all season long, providing a continuous source of nectar and pollen for pollinators. Perennials, on the other hand, provide a more stable source of food and habitat for pollinators.

Let’s Design Your Cottage Style Pollinator Garden!

Designing a cottage style pollinator garden is all about creating an informal, relaxed atmosphere. You can achieve this by incorporating a mix of plants with different heights, textures, and colors.

To create a natural-looking garden, you can plant in irregular groups or drifts, rather than in straight rows. You can also include features such as a birdbath or a small pond to attract birds and other wildlife.  I love to use garden art in my gardens. I even have an antique lightning rod!

Consider these factors as well:

  • Is your garden up against a wall or does it have a backdrop? If so, you want to be sure to have your taller plants placed in the rear, cascading downward in height as you move towards the front of your garden.
  • Is your garden located in an area where it can be walked around on all sides? If so, you will want the tallest plants placed in the center, then cascading downward to the edges.

Selecting the Right Plants for Your Garden

When selecting plants for your garden, it’s essential to choose varieties native to your region. Native plants are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions, making them more resilient and less reliant on fertilizers and pesticides.

Some excellent choices for a cottage style pollinator garden include lupines, foxglove, hollyhocks, peonies, coneflowers, black-eyed susans, bee balm, and milkweed. These plants are attractive to a wide variety of pollinators and are relatively easy to grow.

Be sure to check out my Podcast with Tim Travis, Owner of Goldner Walsh Garden and Home as we discuss the importance of native habitats and pollinator gardens! You watch it below right here on my YouTube Channel!

Let’s Create the Garden Plan Now!

Before planting your garden, it is essential to create a planting plan. This plan should take into account the size and shape of your garden, the location of existing plants and features, and the sun and soil conditions.

If it’s a brand new garden spot, then you’ll still need to design this in order to utilize your space and be sure not to over plant. I recommend if this is a new garden you fill in the empty spaces with annuals so it looks full and beautiful. The perennials will fill in the following year.

Start by drawing a rough sketch of your garden, including any existing plants or features. Then, decide on the placement of your pollinator-friendly plants, considering factors such as height, texture, and color.

Once you have a rough plan in place, you can refine it by selecting specific varieties of plants and determining the number of plants needed for each area

Another factor is if you are partial to particular colors. I personally prefer pinks, purples, blues, and whites. I tend to be drawn to plants in those colors. Use what makes you happy and fits into the scheme of things for your gardens.

Some Final Tips for a Successful Pollinator Garden!

Remember to choose plants that are native to your region, create a planting plan, and care for your garden regularly. And most importantly, have fun and enjoy the beauty and diversity of your garden!

Here are some of my favorite flowers to incorporate for pollinator gardening. Take into consideration I am a cottage gardener, so these flowers are well suited to that style. This is by far not an exhaustive list, more so a list of mine & Tim’s personal faves! Pollinator’s aren’t just for bees, I grow some of these specifically for my little feathered friends. Also, my garden themes generally incorporate purples, pinks, blues, and white. I don’t use very many red, and I don’t really include orange or yellow with the exception of Black Eyed Susan’s. 

Annuals include:

  1. Cosmos
  2. Mexican Sunflower
  3. Milkweed
  4. Verbena
  5. Zinnias
  6. Sunflowers~ I like to incorporate a row of these in the back of my garden so the blue jays can harvest the seeds once they’ve developed. 

Perennials include:

  1. Purple Coneflower or Echinechea~ I don’t cut back the seed heads as goldfinches feast on these in the fall and throughout the winter months.
  2. Alliums
  3. Bee Balm
  4. Black Eyed Susans
  5. Liatris
  6. Lavender
  7. Lupine
  8. Lavender~ my lavender plants are generally covered with honey bees while in bloom. I just love to hear the buzz of the little guys. 
  9. Any variety of mint~ this serves two purposes… one for me to make yummy mint tea, and one for the bees!
  10. Phlox

Link to a good site for content

If you enjoyed this blog, please LIKE, Follow, Share & leave me a comment! I love your feedback!

If you aren’t following me on Facebook & Instagram go on over & give a LIKE & Follow me for daily tips & tricks for your home & garden! 

Added bonus: You can go to my blog at to purchase my original cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats in either a spiral bound soft cover OR NEW, a Downloadable PDF version. The cookbook has almost 1000 recipes on almost 500 pages! Check out the Cookbook Testimonials while you’re there!

Until next time remember to,
Eat fresh, shop local & have a happy day,


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All text and images on this site are copyright of For Dragonflies And Me. Unless otherwise noted, you may not use this content.

Podcast with Tim Travis, Owner of Goldner Walsh Garden & Home~ How to incorporate pollinator gardens & natural habits into your yard!

Join Jean & Tim as they connect for their Spring Garden Talk.

This month Tim & Jean will be discussing the importance of creating natural habitats and pollinator gardens. Learn the importance of incorporating native plants to your area specifically along with specific pollinator plants.

To watch this episode, tune into my YouTube Channel

To learn more about Goldner Walsh Garden & Home check them out here:   

Join Jean each week as she chats it up about  gardening, cooking, organizational tips & tricks, chatting about healthy lifestyles, and of course having conversations with incredible entrepreneurs!

If you enjoyed this blog , please LIKE, Follow, Share & leave me a comment! I love your feedback!

If you aren’t following me on Facebook & Instagram, go on over & give a LIKE & Follow me for daily tips & tricks for your home & garden!

Happy Day,


Copyright Policy

All text and images on this site are copyright of For Dragonflies And Me. Unless otherwise noted, you may not use this content 

Gardening 101 ~How-to Plant Raspberries and Care For Them!

“Maybe a person’s time would be as well spent raising food as raising money to buy food.“ ― Frank A Clark

Over the years I have grown just about everything possible for my growing zone with the exception of fruit trees. I’ve had an apple tree, but I dare not say I am an expert in this field of horticulture. 

My specialty has always been heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables, with a focus on tomatoes and lettuces.

I often talk about my childhood and growing up with my grandmother and mother in the kitchen and our gardens. They are very fond memories that I truly love to share. We always had a beautiful, well kept little vegetable garden in our backyard, which included both raspberries and strawberries. My grandmother never grew blueberries though. She said they took up too much space. Space she didn’t have to give up.

I have personally grown all of these delicious fruits and today I’m going to touch on raspberries. If you missed last week’s blog post on How-to Grow Grapes & Care for Them, check that out as well!

If you are looking to add some delicious and nutritious berries to your garden, then look no further than raspberries! These juicy, sweet berries are easier to grow and care for than you may think that many home gardeners enjoy in their gardens.

In today’s blog post, I will walk you through all the tips & tricks you’ll need to know about planting raspberries, from choosing the right variety and caring for your new berry bushes. We’ll cover all the basics, including when and where to plant, how to space your plants, and what kind of soil and nutrients your raspberries will need to thrive. So whether you’re a novice or die hard gardener, read on to learn how to grow your own delicious raspberries and enjoy fresh, sweet berries all summer long!

Let’s get planting those raspberries!

What Variety of Raspberry Should I Choose?

Before you start planting raspberries, it’s important to choose the right variety for your garden. There are two main types of raspberries: summer-bearing and everbearing. Summer-bearing raspberries produce one large crop in early summer, while everbearing raspberries produce a smaller crop in early summer and a second, smaller crop in fall.

When choosing a raspberry variety, consider your climate and growing conditions. Some varieties do better in certain areas than others. For example, some varieties of raspberries are more cold-hardy than others and can withstand harsh winter conditions. Other varieties are more resistant to certain pests and diseases.

Here are some popular raspberry varieties to consider:

Heritage: A popular variety of everbearing raspberries that produces sweet, juicy berries. Heritage raspberries are hardy and disease-resistant, making them a good choice for gardeners in colder climates.

Caroline: Another popular everbearing variety, Caroline raspberries are known for their large, firm berries and disease resistance.

Tulameen: A popular summer-bearing raspberry variety, Tulameen raspberries are known for their large, sweet berries and high yield.

When and where do I  plant my raspberries?

Raspberries should be planted in early spring or fall, when the soil is cool and moist. Planting in the heat of summer can stress the plants and make it harder for them to establish roots. When choosing a location for your raspberry bushes, look for a spot that gets at least six hours of sun per day and has well-draining soil.

It’s also important to choose a location that is free from competing plants and weeds. Raspberries can be quite aggressive and will quickly spread and take over an area if not properly maintained.

Planting raspberries – Step by Step Guide

Once you’ve chosen your raspberry variety and prepared your soil, it’s time to plant your bushes.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to planting raspberries:

  1. Dig a hole that is slightly larger than the root ball of your raspberry plant.
  2. Place the plant in the hole and backfill with soil, making sure the crown of the plant is level with the soil surface.
  3. Tamp down the soil around the plant to remove any air pockets.
  4. Water the plant thoroughly after planting.

When planting raspberries, it’s important to space your plants properly. Raspberries should be spaced about 2-3 feet apart in rows that are 6-8 feet apart. This will give your plant

Pruning raspberry plants

Proper pruning is essential for healthy raspberry plants and good fruit production. Raspberries should be pruned twice per year: once in late winter or early spring, and again after harvest.

In late winter or early spring, prune out any dead, damaged, or diseased canes. Then, thin out any weak or spindly canes, leaving only the strongest, healthiest canes.

After harvest, prune out all of the canes that produced fruit. These canes will not produce fruit again and should be removed to make room for new growth.

Pruning raspberry plants properly is essential!

Proper pruning is essential for healthy raspberry plants and good fruit production. Raspberries should be pruned twice per year: once in late winter or early spring, and again after harvest.

In late winter or early spring, prune out any dead, damaged, or diseased canes. Then, thin out any weak or spindly canes, leaving only the strongest, healthiest canes.

After harvest, prune out all of the canes that produced fruit. These canes will not produce fruit again and should be removed to make room for new growth.

Harvesting and storing raspberries

Raspberries are ready to harvest when they are fully colored and easily detach from the plant. Harvest your raspberries in the morning, when they are cool and dry, to help prevent bruising.

Raspberries are best eaten fresh but can also be frozen or canned for later use. To freeze raspberries, simply wash and dry them, then spread them out on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag.

Common mistakes to avoid in raspberry planting and care

When planting and caring for raspberries, there are a few common mistakes to avoid:

  1. Planting too close together: Raspberries need plenty of room to grow and should be spaced at least 2-3 feet apart.
  2. Over-fertilizing: While raspberries do need regular fertilization, too much fertilizer can lead to excessive growth and weak canes. 
  3. Pruning at the wrong time: Pruning at the wrong time of year can harm your raspberry plants and reduce fruit production.
  4. Neglecting pest and disease control: Ignoring signs of pests or disease can quickly lead to a larger problem that is harder to control.

Stayed tuned for next weeks blog post on how to plant and care for blueberries!

If you enjoyed this blog, please LIKE, Follow, Share & leave me a comment! I love your feedback!

If you aren’t following me on Facebook & Instagram go on over & give a LIKE & Follow me for daily tips & tricks for your home & garden! 

Added bonus: You can go to my blog at to purchase my original cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats in either a spiral bound soft cover OR NEW, a Downloadable PDF version. The cookbook has almost 1000 recipes on almost 500 pages! Check out the Cookbook Testimonials while you’re there!

Until next time remember to,
Eat fresh, shop local & have a happy day,


Copyright Policy

All text and images on this site are copyright of For Dragonflies And Me. Unless otherwise noted, you may not use this content.

Designing A Potager

Here I am harvesting basil

Here I am harvesting basil

I’ve always tried to encourage others to plant something… anything. The thrill that you get from placing the seed or the little seedling into the pleasant earth… then waiting and watching for the first signs of life to come springing up out of the soft ground… then suddenly one morning there it is… a tiny sprout or the first blossom on your tomato plant. As you patiently await the first signs of fruit… then the ripening… then the harvest.

As you stand there holding your pleasant reward, staring at it and re-thinking the whole process and the time and tender care that it took to get this into your hand.

Garlic I just harvested

Garlic I just harvested

…when you eat that first thing you’ve grown… you’ll close your eyes and savor the taste, taking in the flavor and enjoying it like no other thing you’ve ever eaten.


…a new respect you’ll have for the seed and the dirt… a new passion will be stirred up in you.

I love gardening…


Some may think that starting a garden is a difficult task, but not so. A garden is like anything else. You’ll need to do a bit of research and planning; you’ll need to think over what you’d like to grow and the amount of space that you have available. I have five acres, and if I could, other than the house and outbuildings, it would all be gardens… just an expanse of gardens.


Unfortunately my dreams are bigger than my reach…

Potager’s or more commonly known today as Kitchen Gardens were historically a mainstay for many families. My heart and soul are simply thrilled with the resurgence of home gardening and canning over the last decade. I love to hear about all the urban gardens, the thrill in the voices of my market friends as they tell me what they’re harvesting out of their little home gardens… especially when it’s from the plants they purchased from me earlier in the year.

Kitchen garden

Kitchen garden

The definition of this French word, potagère is simply vegetable garden and is properly pronounced: “por-ta-jj”, giving credit to the French who inspired this style of ornamental kitchen garden’s.

The potager is most similar to the traditional English cottage garden but is mainly based on vegetables and other edible plants and herbs, often incorporating some cut flower plants for the household.

Historically plants were chosen for their form, color and taste, with seasonality and continuity of fresh vegetables for the household in mind and were typically low maintenance and closely planted. This is very similar to raised bed gardening (another blog ;-))



What you include in your potager is all about you and your family. What you like and love, although I do suggest trying at least one new thing each year…I do!


Veggies~ This is a matter of personal prefference. We like to include one zuchinni, four hills of potatoes, two pepper plants, several lettuces, spinach, kale and chard, two tomato plants- one Roma and one salad type, short rows of carrots, onions and garlic. I also like to include a cucumber that I typically grow up on a trellis.


Herbs: We use lots of fresh herbs in our cooking. I wanted to incorporate an herb section in our potager. Herbs have a tendency to ‘get out of hand’, so all my herbs are in containers of sorts.

Here is a photo of part of my herb section.
My perennials include- sage, oregano, chives, sorrel, thyme, and biennial parsley. Calendula reseeds itself each year and I plant purple, lemon and Genovese type basil each year.

Flowers- try edibles: I grow nasturtiums and day lilies in my potager, along with marigolds along side the tomatoes. I also have several other perennials incorporated simply for beautification. The potager is beside the pergola which has several sweet autumn clematis and climbing roses along its side. I also have some hosta’s, a white bleeding heart, Astilbe and bee’s balm .

I believe, as the gardeners of old that all three… vegetables, herbs and flowers all belong balanced together in a potager.

No matter what you decide to grow, make your garden’s a reflection of your soul… a passionate place that you can escape to from all the cares of life… a meditative place to commune with the almighty One…

Happy day,

Kitchen Gardens

Check out my new post at The Detroit News, The Good Life blog… follow this link and please like it!

This is a photo of my Potager or Kitchen Garden... follow the link for an easy how-to!

This is a photo of my Potager or Kitchen Garden… follow the link for an easy how-to!

Happy day,

Creation Of My Potager

I am in love with gardening…and I am in love with writing about and sharing my gardens with others. My desire is to instill this passion in that person that is drifting out there… dreaming of just a tiny little piece of it… yet not knowing where to begin. I want to inspire the lover of dirt and blossoms to create yet something new and different… I want others to indulge in this romance… show how gardening can bring joy to someone that has sorrow. Gardening whether on a small or large scale, on a balcony or in an acre field affords a luxuary that is so pure.  It doesn’t need to cost a fortune or be an emaculate English garden… your garden should be an extension of your heart and soul. I hope that today I can stir that up in you… enjoy friends.

Be sure to check out and ‘Like’ my Facebook page for Dragonfly… and please share it!

I thought it would be interesting to show you the process of how our Potager came to be.  It’s quite interesting the way I got to give my daughter her ‘kitchen’ garden. You see we raise hogs here at The Garden Gate Farm along with poultry, eggs and produce. Well, one day (although there’s been many others!) the pigs got out! Pigs love to root up the ground and they made quite a mess out of this area. So much that Neil looked at it as ‘too much too repair, go ahead and make another garden!’… don’t need to tell me twice! So I gave the good news to Taylor and what better spot than right outside the back door! Good pigs 😉

So, three years ago we started. It has evolved and grown… quite a bit actually.

Photo #1 2010

Photo’s 1 and 2 are not quite the beginnings of our Potager. Though camera happy I am, I never took any shots of what it looked like after the hogs got through with it! I was too excited to get going on this project to worry about the ‘before’ pics I guess. So we started with black ground cover, then rocks and then added the rich composted pasture dirt of our beef farmer neighbors. In the front, left to right:
Three day lilies, tulip bulbs planted in between.
Back row- several containers which will hold herbs- concrete drain tile, wooden drawer, 4 plastic pots burried half way, antique tool box.
In the far back behind the lilac bush up against the garage there is an elevated garden that holds our Mint Garden Tea.

Photo #2m 2010

In this photo, you can see the raised beds in one of my gardens. This now is where our hoop house sits. You can also see the black ground cover. We have a terrible time with ‘Quack Grass’, (devil weed in my book!). It is necessary to have this or the whole garden would be taken over with very little hope… especially with organic means.

Photo #3 2010

Here we have erected the Pergola and I have started the Rose Garden on the other side.  This is the same year but later in the summer.  I have now planted a ‘Miss. Kim Lilac Bush in front corner, Purple Bell Flowers, some Tulip bulbs. Sage, Thyme, Creeping Phlox, Sweet Autumn Clematis and several climbing Rose bushes along the length of the Pergola.

Photo #4 2010

Here is another shot from a side angle. You can see the step stone path and beside it are two Russian Sage. These are covered with honey bees all summer.  You can also see some tulips blooming. 2010

Photo #5 2011

This photo is year two 2011. The lilies have matured, the sage is blooming and the clematis’ are growing.

Photo #6a  2010

The Rose Garden 2011! At least that’s what it will be along with many other things growing in it.  We soon started getting the ground cover laid, rock’s around and dirt down.  Although the planting didn’t begin until much later…

Photo #6b 2010

The beginnings of The Rose Garden 2011 still… Please note that there is a white climbing rose bush at the center of the pergola. You will see a photo coming up of it last summer when she bloomed for the first time. 

Photo #7 2010

Again black ground cover was laid, rocks and then dirt. Stage 3 will be right beside this.

Photo #8 2010
#8- Summer 2011. Starting to get some plants in the Rose Garden. Front corner has a beautiful David Austin Shrub Rose, Peony type. See below photo for one of it’s blooms from last year. I have sedum, more sages, bee’s balm, creeping phlox, thyme, purple bell flower and lavenders planted in this garden.  The greatest challenge I had with this spot was managing the weeds in between the perennials.  I added straw from our barn as a thick mulch to help.
Photo #9 2012
This is a shot of the rose in the front corner, above photo last summer 2012… She is absolutely stunning!  She will be 3 years old this summer!


Photo #10 2011

Here is a shot of the Herb Garden in the Potager. This was taken in 2011. As you can see things are filling in nicely.  I always put Basil in the 4 pots, parsley in the tool box. Oregano is growing in the drawer. I like to use stone word markers with the herb names on them.  Adding structural elements to the garden gives interest to the garden and creates a natural feeling.

Photo #11 2011

Late Spring 2011. The clematis are starting to grow up beautifully and by the end of this summer they had tripled in size. Sweet Autumn is an aggressive climber and quite invasive if left unmanaged.  The rose in the front bottom right corner is growing beautifully.   Compare to photo #3

Photo #11a 2011

Here is the pergola walk way it’s first year with the mulch before I removed and replaced it with the pea gravel. See photo #7.  Didn’t even have our patio yet!  Spring 2011

Photo #12 2012

Here is a photo of The Rose Garden from the back side. This photo was taken last summer (2012) early summer.  The sages are only about a third of the size they will get, sedum’s, shrub rose, iris’s, and a new boxwood in the front right corner. Also in this garden, chives and some new Hydrangea starts that will be big and beautiful in a couple more years. As you can see I have covered the ground in straw as a thick mulch to hold back weeds and retain moisture.

Photo #13 2012

Here is a shot of The Rose Garden from the front about a month after the above one was taken.  The large plant front right beside the wheelbarrow, which BTW is for decoration, is a Comfry plant. You can see her tiny buds ready to open. 
Also, remember that little rose bush in photo #6 & 8? That is her in the middle – the whole thing! She was spanned about 8′ in width. 
Watch for a shot of the garden bike covered with nasturtiums coming.
Also note our NEW hunter green steel roof!

Photo #14 2012

This is a shot from the back side of the Potager last spring. The roses are just starting to leaf out (front left corner), the tea bed is growing lovely. The purple haze in the back left corner is the Russian sage in bloom. I mulch with straw to help with weeds. 

Photo #15 2012

Photo #15 Front of the Potager last early summer.  #16 was spring when the creeping phlox was in bloom. See the patio in the background?

Photo #16 2012

You can see in #15 & 16 the growth of the clematis on the pergola. Also, purple bell flowers & the Russian sage blooming in 15.

Photo #17 2012

This photo was taken at the same time as #15. If you compare to photo’s number 3, you can see it just about 2′ tall, then in #11 jut growing to about 5′. She is a beautiful climber that by the end of last summer had canes that bent right over the top of the pergola- which is 5′ wide.  There are two Sweet Autumn Clenatis’ here. Each section is 8′ wide- just 3 three years old.  You get a lot of bang for your buck really quickly with this beauty. Plus you get the bloom in fall!

Photo #17 2012

By summers end the clematis were grown right over the top of the arch’s. When we originally put down the path, I used mulch. Big mistake! The chickens loved it and continually dug holes and scratched it all over the step stones. I happened to be paging through one of my favorite gardening Mag’s, Country Garden’s and saw a garden path just like this! I shoveled up all the mulch- about 20 wheel barrow full which I used to mulch the beds. I then ordered several tons of pea gravel and wheel barrowed about 20 full to fill in- no more chickens!  The path leads to our back patio which you can see in photo #15 and then also bends to the right leading to the hoop house, greenhouse’s and hog’s.  I used slate for the paths.

Photo #18 2012

Here I used the slates to make images in the path… a sun and a daisy.  You can be as creative as you allow yourself to be.  My motto in decortating both my home and my gardens is to make me & my family happy and comfortable.  Again, your gardens should be an extension of your heart and soul!

Photo #19  2012

This photo shows the empty space that you see in photo #7.  This area now leads through the arbor you can see in photo #7 as well.
I planted nasturtiums on the edge of this side of the garden… it just poured over and climbed all over my garden bike! It was spectacular. See below for the shot of that.  You can actually see the plants right behind the tires.

Photo #20 2012

See the bike seat… truly amazing what these plants will do when given the room to sprawl. I love them for both the beauty they give and the fact that I can add them to my garden salads for a peppery flavor.

Photo #21 2012

Remember that rose bush? here she is from a frontal postition. The white blossoms are hard to see, but they are there.  Unfortuntely we had just had a rain, one of few, and it knocked down the sages, left and right in photo.  For sake of perspective, I am standing right in front of the garden bike taking this photo.

Photo #21a  2012
Here is a close up of the white rose… so simple yet so elegant.

Photo #22 2012

Here is a shot of the Rose Garden and Pergola from the corner back side. The sedums were just beautiful and you can see the purple haze of the sages. The bright color of the nasturtiums is so radiant.  Also note that growing along the rocks are thyme and creeping phlox.  You can also see the pink rose bush beside the sedum. This is a shrub rose. I am standing in front of the hoop house here.

Photo #23 2012

Here is The Potager late summer last year. It is very full and overflowing from this perspective. Tomatoes, kale, onions, lettuces, potatoes and more growing behind the Herb section.  This is a very productive garden and we enjoy being able to slip out the back door and grab those fresh picked yummies just before we are ready to eat them raw or cook with them. There are a few things that I don’t grow here due to the size of the finished product- sweet corn and vining squashes. I do typically include either a yellow squash or zuchinni bush type, but not both because of cross polination.  I will succession plant lettuces, beets, green beans and scallions. I don’t bother with certain crops here because I grow so much of them in my raised beds. For example, chard and spinach.  Along the front of the rocks is not weeds… what you see is creeping phlox, thyme and calendula spilling over onto a narrow piece of grass. As mentioned earlier, the clematis has just about covered the entire Pergola across the top and side. At the far end is yet another one.  This whole mass is only 3 plants that started out with about three 2′ vines only three years ago! At every post, which is set 6′ apart there is a climbing rose bush.

Photo #23 2012

This is a small bed that hold’s a larger quantity of sage and oregano. There are also, a couple day lily, bee’s balm and lavender. In the far right corner growing on the back post is a Chinese Wisteria. My goal is that this will cover the back side and over the side of the pergola eventually running in with the clematis. This will give my spring and fall bloom.  This bed is directly behind the Rose Garden. In photo #18 of the step stones, this would be to the right.  The next photo of it has the Rose Garden to my back.

Photo #24 2012

In this shot you can see the now in place hoop house with raised beds filled with beautifully growing lettuces and cherry tomatoes.  This shot is late spring to early summer. Notice the lavender in the front left corner loaded with buds.  I also have a Blue Fescue in center front. The Bee’s Balm is beuatiful when in full bloom!

I am looking forward to the coming season when I can once again go and have some quiet moments in my gardens… I hope you enjoyed seeing the birth and growth of our Potager, but more importantly, I hope it inspired you!

Happy Day!