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The Garden Decoder: What Is a ‘Potager’?

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Is it possible to create a garden that incorporates attractive edibles, bursts with blooms, attracts pollinators and wildlife, plus is easy to maintain? Answer: Yes. How? A potager. To better understand the ins and outs of this French garden style, I’ve asked expert Jennifer Bartley, owner of the design firm American Potager, and author of Designing the New Kitchen Garden: An American Potager Handbook, for some guidance.

What exactly is a ‘potager’?

Jennifer Bartley Potager Above: Photograph by Jennifer Bartley.

Potager (pronounced: poe-ta-jay) is French for kitchen garden. The word literally means “for the soup pot.” “It’s a seasonal garden where fruits, herbs, greens, and vegetables are grown in a beautiful way,” says Jennifer. Well, who wouldn’t want that? And, according to Jennifer, “The French always understood the connection between what was growing in the garden and what was served at the table.” Historically, the French jardin potager was always accessible to the chateau, and the owner could view the garden from the kitchen window. In England during the English landscape movement, estate owners, in contrast, didn’t want to see messy working kitchen gardens so they were hidden. Today’s potager can take on many variations and designs with no hard fast rules.

What are the elements of a potager?

Above: A potager should be near the house for easy access. Photograph by Andrea Filippone, from The Garden Designer Is In: A Deer-Proof Edible Garden, East Coast Edition.

“I think most often people create a row of raised beds and call that a potager,” says Jennifer. “These gardens historically were paradise gardens, they were an oasis.” For a truly successful potager that feels like the gardens of old, here are Jennifer’s guidelines:

  1. Be a destination in itself. A place on your property where you arrive, shut the gate, and leave your troubles behind.
  2. Have some sort of enclosure whether it’s a wall, a fence or a strategically placed flowering shrub.
  3. Plant the potager near the kitchen or entrance to the house. In a prominent place to be seen and enjoyed daily.
  4. Plant as if you were creating a painting with edibles.

Any benefits of a potager?

Above: Expert mingling of blooms and edibles, courtesy of Sarah Raven. Photograph by Jonathan Buckley, from Ask The Expert: Sarah Raven’s 10 Tips for a Kitchen Garden.

Besides the obvious rewards of creating a haven of biodiversity, plus the ability to harvest stellar flowers and tasty edibles, Jennifer adds, “We’re creating a garden that feeds the soul as well as the stomach. A place we love to be in.” The key to remember when creating your own potager is to nurture the relationship between nature, your garden, and your kitchen table.

For more on vegetable gardens, see:

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1 day ago
Blue jays in the potager.
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Neil Gaiman's Journal: The Neil story (with additional footnote)

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(I wrote this on Tumblr. It's since been picked up and quoted all over the place, and I'm being asked a lot if it's actually something I said, and if it's true. It is, and it is. Here's the original.)

duckswearhats asked: Hi, I read that you've dealt with with impostor syndrome in the past, and I'm really struggling with that right now. I'm in a good place and my friends are going through a lot, and I'm struggling to justify my success to myself when such amazing people are unhappy. I was wondering if you have any tips to feel less like this and maybe be kinder to myself, but without hurting anyone around me. It's a big ask, I know, but any help would make my life a lot less stressful 

The best help I can offer is to point you to Amy Cuddy’s book, Presence. She talks about Imposter Syndrome (and interviews me in it) and offers helpful insight.

The second best help might be in the form of an anecdote. Some years ago, I was lucky enough invited to a gathering of great and good people: artists and scientists, writers and discoverers of things.  And I felt that at any moment they would realise that I didn’t qualify to be there, among these people who had really done things. On my second or third night there, I was standing at the back of the hall, while a musical entertainment happened, and I started talking to a very nice, polite, elderly gentleman about several things, including our shared first name*. And then he pointed to the hall of people, and said words to the effect of, “I just look at all these people, and I think, what the heck am I doing here? They’ve made amazing things. I just went where I was sent.” And I said, “Yes. But you were the first man on the moon. I think that counts for something.” And I felt a bit better. Because if Neil Armstrong felt like an imposter, maybe everyone did. Maybe there weren’t any grown-ups, only people who had worked hard and also got lucky and were slightly out of their depth, all of us doing the best job we could, which is all we can really hope for.

 (There’s a wonderful photograph of the Three Neils even if one of us was a Neal at http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2012/08/neil-armstrong.html)


*(I remember being amused and flattered that he knew who I was, not because he'd read anything by me, but because the Google algorithm of the time had me down as Neil #1. If you just typed Neil, it would take you to <a href="http://neilgaiman.com" rel="nofollow">neilgaiman.com</a>. Many people, including me, felt that if there was a Neil #1, it was most definitely him.)

Labels: Imposter Syndrome, Neil Armstrong

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4 days ago
“I think that counts for something.”
Washington, DC
1 day ago
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Surf the web with zero privacy or security concerns thanks to this service

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In real life, you would never recite your credit card information or Social Security number in public. But online, that's what we do all the time: We constantly have to plug in our financial records and our passwords to get to what we need, making ourselves vulnerable. — Read the rest

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18 days ago
Surf the web with zero privacy or security concerns.

I originally parsed this headline as “Surf the web with zero privacy” or “Surf the web with security concerns.”
18 days ago
Better headline: Surf the web with zero concerns of security or privacy
17 days ago
It seems like this device essentially uses your network connection to provide an exit point for other users of the device/service. While this may sound great in theory, it means you have to trust all the other people using the service to not do nefarious things while they're connected through your node. No thanks!
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30 Women Share The Times They Were Completely Ignored Because There Was A Man Nearby

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Dear woman, have you ever been in a situation where someone completely disregarded your opinion or presence because a man was standing nearby? Perhaps it had happened at a mechanic, car dealership, home appliance, or electronics store. Because, apparently, women have no clue about cars, electronics, or repairs, and only men can be the ‘connoisseurs’ of such things. Boohoo, fake news!

Recently, a woman from Arizona, USA, Krista Pacion, tweeted about her experience with a repairman who started ignoring her immediately after her husband walked into the room. Krista’s tweet soon turned into a viral thread, providing space for more woman to share their experience facing sexism. It’s bound to be interesting, so look at some of the replies we have gathered and listed below.

More info: Twitter


Image source: Strawprincess


Image source: shanaschwarz


Image source: LingZhiTweet


Image source: sftballwife


Image source: Mully1897


Image source: colgwilliam5


Image source: BenignVanilla


Image source: AnaidUthMatar


Image source: kandybernsk


Image source: KathiePloskonka


Image source: BrownTroy


Image source: Helene0555


Image source: pilotchicksrule


Image source: APrettyLeaf


Image source: OutdoorDad05


Image source: Eilidhexmo


Image source: Pattyfalino


Image source: MirandaLBkr


Image source: Godsgurlie


Image source: silentia7


Image source: delania_mclean


Image source: CurrAnatomy


Image source: h_cortland


Image source: citizenofNV


Image source: suzette_sommer


Image source: dmw_terrence


Image source: pmheart


Image source: dianeako


Image source: scott_sycamore


Image source: ClaudiaWheatley

The post 30 Women Share The Times They Were Completely Ignored Because There Was A Man Nearby appeared first on DeMilked.

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18 days ago
I manage all the finances in our household. Went into the bank to refinance. Was told to come back with my husband. I told the guy I did the finances and I was the one who was pursuing the refinance. Bank guy wasn’t happy about this, but had me sit down. He started his spiel with, “Interest is what you pay to have a mortgage.” I walked out before he could continue to mansplain mortgages.
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72 days ago
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Ignoring Basic Prints-iples

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We finished a 30+ page site for a client only to receive a phone call from a very upset client.

Client: Help! The new website is not working right!

Me: What seems to be the problem? Everything seems to be working fine on our end.

Client: We’re trying to print all the pages out and they look terrible when they’re on paper!

Me: Why are you printing the website out? 

Client: Well, two reasons – first is that our CEO doesn’t like computers. He will only approve your work if we print it out for him.

Me: I’m not sure that’s going to work – websites are meant just to be displayed on computer monitors. What’s the second reason for printing it out?

Client: We wanted to make a backup in case your site goes down. 

Another exploration into the grey areas, from the Clients From Hell archives.

The post Ignoring Basic Prints-iples appeared first on Clients From Hell.

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218 days ago
And another designer who has no idea what they’re talking about. If only this designer knew more about CSS and less about schooling his client that what they want isn’t possible.
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