I posted photos of Chateau de Valmer on Wednesday, but I saved the ones from the potager for Weekend Cooking and Saturday Snapshot today. Potager is the French term for what Americans would call a vegetable garden or a kitchen garden, but there’s also an implication of beautiful design and the presence of some flowers.
France had a cool wet spring, so everything was a bit late. The summer vegetables were waiting in cold frames and green houses because it was too cold to put them in the ground yet. The edging of the beds was formed by twin rows of structures that held up espaliered fruit trees. These were only a bit taller than knee high, a nice height for picking.
The potager at Valmer was two levels below the chateau and invisible from that building, even though it’s a couple of acres of land. When this and the other walled gardens at Valmer were put into place, the potager was considered a working area. A couple of centuries later when Marie Antoinette made the country lifestyle fashionable, a grand stairway was built from the level above down to the potager allowing for attractive access. That stairway is in one of the photos I posted on Wednesday.
We saw insect houses a couple of different places in France. I want one. It looks like modern sculpture but has a purpose of bringing beneficial insects near the vegetables. Here, Alix, our guide and the Countess de Saint Venant, explained the different insect habitats.
At the end of our tour of Valmer, on a day which had been rainy off and on, we got a beautiful bit of sunshine, just as we approached this charming tower at the corner of the potager. This once housed the gardener tasked with keeping a watchful eye over the produce at night.
There are more photos of our time at Valmer on my Flickr page: Joy’s Photostream.
The Weekend Cooking post at Beth Fish Reads today features her popular Kitchen Journal series where she shares what’s going on in her kitchen: Weekend Cooking: The Kitchen Journals 11. Check that post for links to other bloggers’ posts about their food-related adventures at home and abroad.
Find other photos around the web today for Saturday Snapshot at West Metro Mommy Reads.