Ahh, vegetables and herbs…
At the very center of this immense garden, beds of annual veggies take the stage. Sixteen separate plots are laid-out in various designs. In the beds you see in the picture above, a kind of patchwork-quilt motif stitches together square and triangular beds by outlining them with woody herbs like thyme. The empty centers will be filled later with summer producers.
Other plots are laid in more traditional row. The Landscape Design students plan, plant and tend all of them.
They make good use of the microclimates created by the old stone walls. These lettuces, with their chive-border, have the benefit of the retained warmth from the wall, as well as shelter from the prevailing winds. La Quintinie knew when he built the garden that these walls would lead to earlier and longer harvests.
Quite important when your boss is the King…
In addition to their duties in the main gardens, each student has a small personal plot. Here, they can indulge in whimsies like scarecrows and artwork, while testing new varieties – and re-discovering old ones.
Other duties include keeping a log of weather conditions, such as rainfall and daily temperatures. The weather station sits far from the walls in order to get accurate readings. The cute little house isn’t for birds – it’s another way to house bees.
The Potager produces 50 tons of fruit and 30 tons of vegetables in a year. It is sold at a weekly produce market at the garden, and at various greenmarkets in the area. New methods of growing old vegetables, and old methods of growing new ones come together in a school dedicated to the art of the garden. Here’s to hoping they’re still around in another 340 years!