The Kitchen Garden

I thought that I should introduce you to some other parts of my garden.  My property is 210 feet x 150 feet.  The 210 runs along the street as does the side of the house.  Originally the houses front door which faces east,  had a large front lawn in front of it with a circular drive for carriages.  on the north side was a laneway, that led to the stables behind the house.  So we had the main part of the house, then a smaller section that contains the butlers pantry, then kitchen (now a mudroom), a back staircase and two small servants bedrooms on the second floor.

Over the years, like so many other houses, land has been severed off and sold.  Unfortunately, the land at the front door has been sold and now the front door faces my next door neighbours.  The laneway has become a street and the side of my house faces it.  Their is a garage to the west of the house and a drive, which means everyone goes to the back door, which is glass.  Not something you want when you are standing there in your knickers.  That is something that has to be addressed in the future, but for now, I remain dressed at all times.

The property line is approx 35 feet from the garage on the west, but there is a berm 10 feet east of the fence that redirects water runoff from the Niagara escarpment, away from our house.  This berm is actually on two sides, the west and the south.  We planted cedars(wild ones, dug up from my brothers farm) there, the first year we moved in to give us some privacy from the Deliverance house. (they are still tiny, next time, don’t be so cheap!)

To make a long story short (too late for that now), we started the garden in May 2007 in the south west corner of the property.  It is almost directly south of the garage (with another garden between it and the property line, but that is for another post).  I wanted a raised bed, “kitchen garden” or “potager”.  It would be a holding area for all the plants that I would be given (or would weaken and buy).  I planned on also using it for veg, herbs and some flowers for cutting.  It is a 30 foot square with a 5 foot path running north to south, and east to west in the middle of it.  The beds are 3 feet wide and have 2 foot paths between them. 

gardenAug09 110

In the centre of the beds, I used to have a large glazed urn, it has been replaced by a piece of salvage.

You can see that there is 4 L shaped beds around the outside and 4 small square beds inside them.

From the centre, you look north to “Flora Glade”.

gardenAug09 117


Then you look east towards the Lime Walk. (you can see where we painted the tower on the grass)

gardenAug09 115

 To the south and the west is the berm with cedars planted on it. At the end of these paths, we have placed a cement bench.

gardenAug09 105

Looking west, from the Lime Walk towards the Kitchen Garden.  I am thinking about an allee (perhaps kind of tunnel like here). 

The kitchen garden is almost finished, there is not much to do here.  I would like to lift the grass between the beds and replace it with pea gravel.  This way, I will be able to walk out at all times of the year without getting muddy.


19 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Chloe said,

    Deborah- thank you so much for commenting on my blog. I will be a frequent visitor to yours! I love how you have worked so hard on the bones of your garden. So important with the formality of English gardens. You have laid the groundwork for years of beauty to come. Your home sounds like a great extension of this garden. Can’t wait till I have enough time to read your past posts. I’ll be back!!

    • 2

      Chloe, thank you so much for your very kind words. (and I mean very kind)! I am glad that you like what you are seeing, I have a vision in my head, and it looks very different to what is in the garden. When I walk people around I am imagining 6 foot high hedges, and not being able to see from garden room to room. I think that they think that I am crazy. But we will see who is crazy in a few years!

  2. 3

    YOu will really like it when you get the grass out of the kitchen garden. Jim and I just completed this task this spring in ours. We have had raised beds for years but it is hard to convince the melons and cucumbers to stay in them and mowing the grass around all the rampant growth was a pain. Also, the grass acted as a vector for weed seeds and I got tired of trying to keep it out of the raised beds.

    Your gardens are really coming along nicely.

  3. 4

    When I designed this area, I made the paths between the beds, the width of the lawn mower. I thought I was so smart. I never took into consideration that I would have to trim the grass, where it grew right against the wood. What a pain! I end up not doing it as often as I should and this area always looks slightly messy. Do you have a trick to make it any easier removing the grass?
    Thank you for your kind comments.

  4. 5

    Racquel said,

    You’ve accomplished alot in just 2 years! I have the same patches in my lawn from spray paint projects, lol. It’s my favorite tool in the shed for updating something. The gravel paths would be great and less maintenance too.

  5. 6

    Hi Racquel, I am all about less maintenance. Since this is a weekend/retirement house, I can only garden on weekends and holidays. It takes me 4 hours to cut the grass, by removing it from the Kitchen Garden, I hope to shave off a half hour.

  6. 7

    Barbara H. said,

    Just jumping in here, even though I’m a new visitor to your post. What about putting cardboard down over the grass with gravel on top? You might need to do some edging where the gravel meets the outer lawn to keep it in place. And you want to make sure that you get the kind of gravel that locks together so it doesn’t roll under your feet. Not sure if pea gravel is best – thought I read somewhere recently that it’s too round. Of course, I haven’t done any of this myself – so you might get better suggestions about the best way to do it.

  7. 8

    Barbara, I am always happy to welcome new visitors to my blog. That is a brilliant suggestion, I think that I will start stockpiling cardboard now so that I will have enough. I really wanted to use gravel for the paths as I like the look, but we had two trees come down recently during a storm, and I have a pile of bark chips as high as my head. I might use those for the first few years and change it to gravel after. Thank you for your comment.

  8. 9

    Teresa said,

    Your gardens are very beautiful. I admire the fact that you have a plan. We also moved into our house just 2 years ago and have been working from a blank slate. Unlike you, I tend to haphazzardly plant things so I have a mishmash of many different plants all thrown together. Now I feel like pulling them all out and rearranging everything in a more orderly way but that would probably kill most of the plants so I will just rearrange a couple of them and work within my kaos. I do like the mix of flowers but sometimes when I see organized gardens like yours I start to rethink my design ( or lack thereof). Any which way it is I do enjoy just putting around in the garden. I don’t think anything relaxes me more. Thanks for an interesting post.

    • 10

      Teresa, this is my third garden and the first time I have made a plan. The best part of the Kitchen Garden is using it as a “holding” area until I can decide where to plant something. I used to just bung them in anywhere there was a space, and I would end up moving everything again. And I am with you, I love to just putter around my garden!

  9. 11

    thanks for your comments on my posts! I love your site, and am so glad to have discovered it.
    I wonder if you know Roy Strong’s book, “The Laskett,” about the making of his garden of the same name. It’s so interesting and detailed, and the pictures are beautiful. There’s stuff in there about design, box hedges, groves, kitchen gardens, ornaments and follies, all wonderful stuff. I recommend it!
    Best, and I’ll be checking in regularly!

    • 12

      I do have Roy Strongs book, he is my idol. I also love David Hicks, he was an amazing garden designer. Have you read Frank Cabots book “The Greater Perfection”. He has travelled all over and stole gardening ideas for his amazing garden in Quebec.
      Pleached trees, hedges, a reflecting pool, it is so beautiful. I really enjoyed your site as well.

      • 13

        Kassie said,

        Am about to search out, ‘The Greater Perfection’ — with a title like that, who can resist!!
        Love all the details of your garden-building work—keep the info coming!

      • 14

        Hi Kassie, You are so going to love that book, Frank is an “Anglophile” , just like the two of us. He is shameless (as he should be) at stealing the best ideas from the most amazing gardens. I would love to steal them as well, but a little thing like money always interferes!

  10. 15

    fairegarden said,

    Hi Deborah, this is just fantastic! The structure and geometry are wonderful and our property is very similar in size to yours. How different to have level land as opposed to a steep slope! I envy you that flat, believe me. Go for the allee, I say! The lime walk is a great idea too. As is the blue salvage. Did the large urn break, I hope not! 🙂

  11. 16

    Oh Frances, you are so kind. I do love this area, I had wanted to paint the wooden boards blue, before installing them, but the paint guy said the wood needed to age for a few weeks before I could do this. I had seen Sarah Ravens garden and had loved how bright it was. But my husband loves “natural” wood (what guy doesn’t) and I thought that I might wait a few years and paint down the road if I’m bored (or when I have the time).
    The large green glazed urn did not break, we just moved it into a different spot.

  12. 17

    miss m said,

    Lovely Deb ! When you say tunnel, I can’t help but think about the wonderful apple tree archway we saw over at Anna’s (green tapestry). It’s useful as well as beautiful.

    Btw, I didn’t think quinces were hardy either, until Emily (GreensandJeans, Vermont) talked about hers (here and here) – Unknown variety unfortunately).
    I’ve been on the hunt ever since (I want more fruit in the garden !) and found quite a few varieties hardy to Zone 5. You’re good !

    • 18

      Wasn’t that apple tunnel gorgeous! I am sure if I did something like that the squirrel mafia would come along and take every apple.
      I will have to go check out that post about the quince. Thanks for the info!

  13. 19

    […] of you may know that I already have a Kitchen Garden. It was the very first garden that we built at Kilbourne […]

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