This spring, try a potager garden and create your own fruitful oasis.
To many Denverites, the French word “potager” evokes the popular farm-to-table Capitol Hill restaurant of the same name. But to Denver landscaping team Alissa Shanley and Chris Silkwood, the traditional “kitchen garden” signifies a balancing act of form and function. Happily for one Country Club homeowner and her 2,200-square-foot plot, the duo behind B. Gardening Landscape Design is uniquely suited for the task of mixing flowers and vegetables: Founder Shanley specializes in flowers; Silkwood is an edibles master. Here’s a tour of the garden.
1. For summer-long color, mix in hardy annuals—such as geraniums, dahlias, zinnias, and salvia.
2. Showcase vegetables that have sculptural properties, like cabbages and gourds. Beets and Swiss chard do double duty with gorgeous foliage.
3. Keep things organized with a geometric structure. B. Gardening used breeze (finely crushed granite) edged with flagstone for the garden’s pathways and planted lettuce in neat stripes.
4. Put tall plants in the back or in spots where they’ll shade a path (not smaller plants).
5. Use vertical space for veggies like cucumbers, beans, and snap peas, and add color with a tropical bloom like a mandevilla vine.
» Stick with a simple color palette. Shanley’s favorites: warm hues, such as reds, oranges, and hot pink; for a cool combination, purples and yellows; or the classic all white.
• Amend Colorado’s thick clay—which can hold too much water—with locally made B.O.S.S. Compost.
• Choose an all-purpose organic fertilizer (Silkwood suggests FoxFarm’s Happy Frog line), and use it once a week on flowers and vegetables.
—Photography by Emily Minton Redfield