Inspiration: Cottage-Style Charm… Flowers, Fruit & Vegetables Combine With Whimsical Touches to Create a Colorful, Welcoming Potager…

May 13th, 2011 § 4 comments

A Riot of Annuals (Mixed Zinna) Creates a Bold Splash of Color in the Center of Carol Hillman’s Country Potager

One of my favorite, near-by New England farms is a one-hundred-and-twenty-five year old orchard, belonging to the owners of New Salem Preserves, Carol Hillman and Robert Colnes. Together, this couple has created a beautiful homestead, tucked into the hills overlooking the Quabbin Reservoir in Western Massachusetts. Visiting their orchard after a hike in autumn —with the sugar maples surrounding their two-hundred-and-sixty year old farm all ablaze— is one of my most treasured seasonal traditions. After taking a stroll through the magnificent old, McIntosh apple trees, I always pick up a gallon or two of fresh cider, homemade donuts and as many of Carol’s preserves as I can manage to juggle in my arms. Even after all these years, and dozens of visits —every late September or early October for more than a decade— I marvel at the simple perfection of their landscape and the beauty and whimsical, personal details in Carol’s potager.

Proving that outstanding design needn’t involve outlandish expenditure, let these images inspire you toward the creation of a garden that blends in with your surrounding landscape; capturing the spirit of place. With a vegetable garden design seminar coming up on the weekend, today my mind happens to be on old farms, gorgeous orchards and pretty, welcoming potagers. If you are attending my vegetable garden design talk at Walker Farm on Saturday (see bottom of post for details) this is a bit of a sneak peek at the visual part of the presentation. But not to worry, if you can’t make it, you can catch up right here next week. I’ll be writing much more on the subject of enchanting edible landscaping all summer long…

Where Deer Aren’t A Problem, A Low, Hodgepodge Fence Works Well to Keep Out Wandering Dogs, Geese or Chickens. A Fence Like This One Sets the Country-Casual Tone, Yet Helps to Keep Things Looking Ordered…

With A No-Nonsense, New England-Style Layout , the Beauty of this Garden is all in the Artful Details. Frog Faucet by Flora & Fauna

Both Practical and Whimsical, the Birdhouse Attracts Organic, Winged Pest Control and Offers a Bit of Charm

Annuals are Perfect Potager Companion Plants: Attractive to Pollinators like Bees, Butterflies and Other Beneficials, They Also Provide Armfuls of Flowers for Colorful Arrangements All Season Long (the whitish film on the Zinnia leaves is a homemade, organic fungicide: click here to find a recipe for this homemade remedy)

This Pretty, Productive Vegetable Garden is Welcoming Throughout the Seasons. I Snapped All of These Photos Last September

And to the Side of the Fence, a Well Planned Raspberry Patch Remains Orderly with Two, Neatly Pruned Rows and Wire Guards to Hold Canes

And Here’s Proof That Even Compost Bins Can Be Attractive When Kept Tidy and Crafted with Natural Materials That Weather Beautifully Over Time…

And With a Sweet Bird Faucet, Trips to Fill the Old Watering Can Seem Like Less of a Chore and More of a Pleasure…

Simple. Pretty.

Isn’t it Lovely? Working in This Garden Would Hardly Seem Like Work at All!

A Weathered-to-Perfection Red Stain Feels as Comfortable on this Outbuilding as Old Blue Jeans on the Weekend (Note the Bat House on the Upper Right Corner Near the Eve)

I Couldn’t Resist Including a Photo of Their Old Chevy Truck. Oh What a Beauty!

Together with organic farmer and owner of Vermont’s legendary Walker Farm, Jack Manix, I’ll be talking about the Art and Science of Vegetable Gardening, this Saturday morning, May 14th at 10am (click here for details).  And on Sunday, May 15th, Scott Farm orchardist, Zeke Goodband, will be discussing “The Beauty of Shade Trees”, from 10-11 am, at Walker Farm (read more about Scott Farm and its heirloom apples in this past post: click here). Gardening Seminars at Walker Farm are Free and Open to the Public. Please see the Walker Farm website for details and to reserve your seat.

Many thanks to Carol Hillman of New Salem Orchards for her kind hospitality over many years. Visit their website here.

***

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§ 4 Responses to Inspiration: Cottage-Style Charm… Flowers, Fruit & Vegetables Combine With Whimsical Touches to Create a Colorful, Welcoming Potager…"

  • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Ooo,oo, we’re at it again… Just this morning, while in town, I was admiring the bat house, installed high up on the east wall of one of our beautiful (almost in it’s 2nd) century homes while thinking, yet again, that I should build one for our place and then just as quickly wondering why bother, when the bats already seem quite comfy in the louvres of our gable-end vents?
    Oh, LOVIN’ the old green Chevy Truck! How old is she, late 40’s-early 50’s? I can’t see enough to tell for sure. What a great shot – except for being in colour, it could have been taken when the truck was new! So cool and shady – great backdrop – NICE!
    What a great place: absolutely overflowing with character (and a really great vibe! : ) xo D

  • Michaela says:

    Hey there! Ya, I hear you on the bat situation. They seem to like my tin roof! I often wonder if they will move if I put a bat house up on the eve end. My cat loves to watch them (I think she quietly reminisces about the time one was flying around inside the house!).
    The truck is grand, isn’t it? And no, I have no idea what year. Next time I am at the New Salem Orchard, I certainly will ask! I love that old farm, and its owners.
    Have a great weekend Deb. Happy Gardening. xo M

  • Lynda S says:

    Michaela, I just discovered this post and I am loving this fence! I believe I have all the materials for the bones of the work, but what exactly are the slats made of? Thanks! Lynda

  • Michaela says:

    @ Lynda – I believe that the wood is just regular, standard pine strapping material. You could use anything for the slats, but if you have any left over strapping, why not just oil it and recycle it. She has it cut to different lengths here. You could obviously use any other type of wood. But I like this style a lot too! Have fun! xo M

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