Garden Photo of the Day

Kathy’s potager in upstate New York

The Potager today. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kathy Sturr

Today’s photos are from Kathy Sturr in Clayton, New York. Back in March of 2012 we featured her beautiful bird and butterfly garden in multiple seasons (refresh your memory HERE). Today she’s showing us her vegetable garden, which she calls her potager. The French instantly makes it sound classier, don’t you think? 🙂 You’ll find more info in the captions. Thanks, Kathy, for sharing your veggie garden with us!

Before, Spring 2008. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kathy Sturr
We built a garden shed in 2009 and a few simple raised beds. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kathy Sturr
The Potager in August of 2010. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kathy Sturr
Adding some structure: a tiki tomato tower made from old tiki torches. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kathy Sturr
I like to make structures from branches. Here cherry tomatoes grow up a rustic tower. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kathy Sturr
Peas growing up another rustic tower. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kathy Sturr
In 2010 we constructed a rustic arbor. Scarlet runner beans adorned it the first year. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kathy Sturr
Perennial trumpet vine now grows up the rustic arbor. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kathy Sturr
Surprise! Ornamental gourds growing up the arbor’s other side. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kathy Sturr
Adding some hardscape: a wine bottle border/edging. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kathy Sturr
The kale is still growing in December and looks beautiful laced with frost. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Kathy Sturr

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  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 01/21/2013

    You're a great tour guide, Kathy, as you took along on your potager's journey of development. Love all your branch based structures....they are fun looking, functional and friendly to plants and birds. I bet that birdhouse at the top of the arbor is a very popular place to raise a family as far as the winged residents of your neighborhood are concerned.

  2. mainer59 01/21/2013

    I love your structures! Did you design them yourself, or are their plans available? Are they held together with twine? They make a veg garden look so much prettier. My pole bean structure collapsed this summer, and not only did it now look ugly, but damage to the plants' roots severely affected my harvest. I need tips to make mine sturdy and beautiful, like yours are.

  3. MIOK 01/21/2013

    The structures in your lovely garden are functional, naturally harmonious and beautiful. I'm intrigued by the bottle edging, which adds an element of whimsy. Does it need to be removed during the winter freeze cycle?

  4. user-7006902 01/21/2013

    Thank you! I am happy to answer your questions. No, the wine bottle border sits through the winter and casts beautiful colorful shadows over the snow when the sun is just right. In the summer the rain collects in the dimpled tops of some of them and I often catch bees and others pollinators taking a sip. I built the rustic arbor and obelisk structures without a plan, although I did look through pictures of arbors for ideas. I often collect branches (before they are mulched) from our local dump after a neighborhood clean up. The branches dictate where they fit best and want to be. I use a drill and screws to hold them together. I drape biodegradable twine over them for peas and other vines to take better hold. I so hope you enjoy.

  5. tractor1 01/21/2013

    Clayton, NY is right on the St. Lawrence R. at the gateway to The Thousand Islands, a magnificnet place to live. I like seeing other people's vegetable gardens, I wish more people here would have and display them. And I like the informality of growing veggies in a home garden, they tend to grow how/where they choose. I especially like how each year we can experiment with different crops. This past summer I tried melons for the first time, was a great success, and there is no comparison between a picked green stupidmarket cantaloupe and a vine ripened home grown, I'll never enjoy a market melon again. I plan on growing a larger variety of melons this spring. Do I see a bit of a strawberry patch by those bottles? Kathy's bottle border sure signifies many a happy evening. LOL Kathy, from your bare yard just a few years ago to a productive garden is a grand achievement, thanks for sharing.

  6. SilkPurseGarden 01/21/2013

    Love, love, LOVE the bottle edging. mother enjoys a cream sherry that comes in blue bottles...

  7. wittyone 01/21/2013

    Wow! great job. You've transformed this corner of your yard and have nicely camouflaged the chain link fence and less than interesting backyards of your neighbors. Not only that-----home grown food. Who could ask for anything more? Maybe this will give your neighbors some ideas and get a backyard garden trend going.

    I too, think your use of the wine bottles is so creative. I have been collecting blue wine bottles (such a gorgeous color) but don't have nearly enough to line a bed of much size. We usually buy our wine in those big jugs (cheaper that way) and they wouldn't look nearly so nice as edging.

  8. thegardenlady 01/21/2013

    Your creative 'reuse' policy is inspirational. Love the idea of the bottle colors reflected on snow. Thanks for sharing.

  9. pattyspencer 01/22/2013

    Really love how your garden has transformed. Wish I had a flat back yard like you do - would make my life so much simpler. I love what you did with those wine bottles - I had to share the pic with a friend of mine - I'm betting I'll see them popping up in her yard this summer - lol Thanks for sharing!

  10. gingerlime 01/22/2013

    I just loved seeing the rustic structure you built.

    I would love to see more potager gardens like this one for inspiration. The only sunny spot I have to grow vegetables is in my front yard. My veggie garden needs to look pretty. Thanks for sharing this.

  11. CJgardens 01/23/2013

    Your rustic structures are beautiful and add charm to your potager. I'm jealous of your trumpet vine success; I waited 6 years for my first blossoms. I've been coveting branches at our local yard waste drop-off site; I will have to just get grab a few. Thanks for many good ideas.

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