Gardenproud Blog

Archive for November, 2011

A New Vegetable Garden in Rotherfield, East Sussex

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

The Challenge

Client is a keen gardener and wanted to create a vegetable garden with raised beds.

The brief also included providing space for a small tool shed.

There was already a designated area c 11m sq. that had previously been used for growing vegetables, but this had become overgrown and needed a serious blitz before work could start.

The area was some distance from the house and there was no running water or electrics.

The vegetable garden needed to be made rabbit proof.

The Solution

First a thorough blitz was undertaken of the old vegetable patch and the soil was rotovated and weeds and brambles removed.

The perimeter fence was repaired and a new gravel board perimeter created inside.

Gardenproud then created a strong design in the style of some of the more formal Potager gardens of the French aristocracy.

Potager Style Garden

A Potager is a French term for an ornamental vegetable or kitchen garden.  The design idea emanates from the gardens of the French Renaissance period. In these gardens flowers were often planted alongside herbs and vegetables to enhance the aesthetics of the working garden. Apart from its beauty a Potager Garden is also very practical as it becomes the source of food, cut flowers and herbs for the house.

Perhaps the most well known example of a Potager Garden is to be found at Château de Villandry. A 16th Century Chateau situated at Villandry near Tours in the Loire Valley.  In the last century the gardens have undergone a transformation. So it’s well worth a visit.

Photo: Château de Villandry – Jean-Christophe Benoist

Our take on the Potager Garden features a cylindrical central water distribution point surrounded by 4 raised beds.

There is a main walkway with a sentry style shed at its head.

The raised beds have been carefully shaped to dramatise the watering point and give the vegetable garden a distinctive look.

An electrical supply has been connected to the vegetable garden area. This provides power to an ingenious water pump that has been fitted to the watering point. It pumps the water out at sufficient pressure to power a traditional hosepipe thus providing easy watering of each of the raised beds.

Topping up the water is easy, especially if the heavens open! Otherwise the large water tub can occasionally be topped up by hose.

The Gardener

The Client Sarah has great plans for her new vegetable garden, she comments….

“ Every year I have despaired as the plot, that in early Spring looked so neat and orderly, spiraled down into a weed infested jungle into which vegetables disappeared never to be seen again. Never again! I can hardly believe the transformation. The joy of my new veg patch is that not only does it look stunning but it is extremely practical. Apart from the raised beds there is plenty of room to expand the growing area by using containers. There is also room for a sitting area where I can relax and admire the fruit of my labours. I can’t wait to get cracking and look forward to sending pictures to Tim of a flourishing and productive plot – he’s done his bit and it’s up to me now! “

For further information about Potager Gardens, see Marylyn Abbot’s book “Gardens of Plenty – The Art of the Potager Garden”. You can buy it at