The Inspiration Garden

by Kimba on July 6, 2010

in Do it yourself,In the Garden

For the last 2 summers, I have dreamed (dreamt?) about a beautiful, productive vegetable garden in our backyard. That dream has taken many forms and I haven’t acted on it because I didn’t have a clear picture in my head.

Until now. I flipped when I saw this picture in This Old House magazine.

Perfection! Tidy raised beds surrounded by gravel paths so that I can wear my cute flip-flops without getting my feet (too) muddy. It’s exactly what I want!

I love that the smaller bed size that makes it easier to tend with the kids. I hope that gardening with my kiddos will give them a greater appreciation for the food that they eat. I want them to have a basic understanding of where our food comes from. Green beans don’t magically appear at the grocery store, you know.

Did you know that now is the perfect time to start planning and prepping for next summer’s garden? Now that I have a clearer picture in my mind, we can start building the raised beds and filling them with grass clippings, straw and compost. By next spring we’ll have beautiful soil for planting.

Since the beds will already be prepped in early spring, I can start the plants inside while the weather is still cold. They’ll be ready to transplant as soon as the ground warms up!

And by thinking ahead, I can make sure that we’ve selected the perfect spot so that the garden gets adequate sunshine. Before you plant anything in the yard, you want to make sure that it will get the proper amount of sun. You may think you know, but you might be surprised when you check different areas of your yard at different times of the day.

My plan is a loosely interpreted “Potager” garden…that’s a fancy French word for a garden that incorporates edible and ornamental plants. And if mine can include a trellis and a bench, even better!

Want to know more about Potager Gardens? Check out these articles:
Designing a Potager Garden @ Country Living
Potager Garden @ Homestead Revival (LOVE her site!)
Potager Inspiration @ Parisienne Farmgirl
More Potager Inspiration @ Exalted Beauty

Country Living

Later this week, I’ll show you how we’re gardening this year. I call it the “Good Enough Garden”.

What about you? Do you have a vegetable garden? How does your garden grow?

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1 Laryssa @ Heaven In The Home July 6, 2010 at 11:01 am

Oh, I really like the last one!

2 Aura July 6, 2010 at 11:05 am

I’m in my third year of gardening and I couldn’t be more addicted! We expanded my garden this year and added a 16 foot raised bed, so I could add even more veggies and flowers to the yard.
Those pictures are gorgeous! Next year I want to work on not just getting good veggies, but actually making my garden look good in the process.
.-= Aura´s last blog ..4th of July 10 =-.

3 Van July 6, 2010 at 11:06 am

That is indeed a truly tidy and perfect little garden, I like the neat and separated beds. I wish out community garden looked more like this, instead of like the big…messy dirt mess of a real garden. (I don’t meander out there without tall gardening boots!)

thanks for sharing, truly inspirational garden photos!
.-= Van´s last blog ..Quick Living Room Make Over =-.

4 Richella July 6, 2010 at 11:07 am

Oh, my goodness, Kimba, that garden is wonderful!! Thank you for sharing your inspiration. Like you, I’ve wanted to garden. I’ve been inspired by gardening. But I haven’t gotten around to actually doing it. You’ve given me a great kick in the pants here!
.-= Richella´s last blog ..Outdoor decor =-.

5 Jeanine at One Cheap B*tch July 6, 2010 at 11:09 am

I love the look! We have some raised beds in our yard but we can never grown anything like squash or eggplant. Not sure if it’s an issue with the sun but the herbs grow nicely. I even have some lettuce back there that my dad gave us.


6 Lynney's Garden July 7, 2010 at 1:57 pm

you may want to check your ph levels, sounds like your acidity level may be a little high. and yes those two need lots of direct sunlight. I grew more squash and eggplant than i knew what to do with. but these two grew in areas where i lost plants that needed more acidity. compost will add acidity whereas lime will add alkalinity!

7 shelly@familyblt July 6, 2010 at 11:17 am

Love that Country Living pic! I’m hoping to start a garden next year…guess I should take a note from you and start planning! 🙂

8 Kate July 6, 2010 at 1:21 pm

I’m veggie gardening on a very small-scale. I have a few tomato and zucchini plants scattered through my garden beds and a few tomato plants in containers on my deck.

It works! But I’d like to try some different veggies as well next year, but I still think I’ll intersperse them in my regular beds.

9 Jennifer July 6, 2010 at 1:28 pm

We didn’t get to start our garden this year because we were still planning the garden but mine looks alot like that photo.
.-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Thank The Computer Gods- =-.

10 deidra July 6, 2010 at 1:28 pm

we have a spot at our local community crops garden. i love the way that program makes gardening a social event. next year, my husband says he wants to have a garden at home, too, but the thought of it just didn’t sit well with me until…ta da!…your post today! i’m going to forward this post to him right now!

11 Laura July 6, 2010 at 1:35 pm

This year we finally did it! We have 2 raised beds and I have harvested squash, beans and peas! Tomatoes are starting to turn and eggplant has blossoms. There are pics on my website if you want to check it out.

Have fun!

.-= Laura´s last blog ..Happy 4th of July- =-.

12 Jorna July 6, 2010 at 1:38 pm

These are sooo romantic….will dream about one like these also….

13 Tiffany July 6, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Love those garden pictures. We have 3 square foot gardens. They look nice enough, but not like that. Maybe over the years we’ll get there. I’d just be happy if my tomatoes took off and started producing. The strawberries did good though.
.-= Tiffany´s last blog ..BBQ Ham Steak on the Grill =-.

14 Alyssa Spring July 6, 2010 at 2:58 pm

I LOVE raised beds. We had a garden this year and I hated how after a rain…even two days later you would just sink in the mud. Also…so many weeds….I’m DEF changing up my plan for next year.
I just found your blog and it’s so gorgeous. Stop by sometime at my place if you want to see some cute kids….ha ha!
.-= Alyssa Spring´s last blog ..My Gifts =-.

15 Vicki July 6, 2010 at 3:07 pm

It’s a perfect little garden! Critters out, garden up, area to move around between plants, what more could a garderner need or want? I love it!
I’ve asked my hubby for one. Will it happen? Nawww, but I can dream! I at least know what I want now! (Will we garden in Heaven?)

16 Rachel July 6, 2010 at 3:35 pm

That last picture reminds me of Meryl Streep’s garden in It’s Complicated. I heart her garden A LOT. I love the idea of planning now.

17 Laura July 6, 2010 at 3:45 pm

If you love this then you might love this blog that I watch. Her drip system is wonderful.
And I’m going to share your post with her too. Gorgeous! I love how neat and tidy it is. I love the fence around the garden. I think I NEED one – although I have to stick with row gardening. Anything in a raised bed would get blown away where I live.

18 mary Jean Taylor July 6, 2010 at 3:53 pm

You are giving me hope that I can do this too! I’ve said it for years and have not done it. I look over at my neighbors yard every year in total envy. I guess I should start pulling weeds in the morning!

19 Melissa July 6, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Oh, I so want a garden. I want a beautiful raised bed garden where I can grow lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers, onions, peas and beans and ooooh, the list could go on and on. I love your “dream” garden too.

20 Missy July 6, 2010 at 4:28 pm

I do have a veggie garden and it too is raised beds. I made mine from cedar boards and built cute little block corners with tops to resemble very short columns. 🙂 They are unbelievably productive beds too…this year we have pepper plants, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, cilantro, green beans and onions. I’ve already harvested leaf lettuce. 🙂 It’s amazing what comes out of two 10 x10 frames! We ate till we about popped last year on veggies and had enough for the freezer too!~ Good luck on building your garden and have fun!
Blessings & Hugs
.-= Missy´s last blog ..My old cabinets are going to be =-.

21 Amanda @ Serenity Now July 6, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Oh, it’s lovely!! T didn’t get enough time off this Spring to get the garden all tilled and set up for me, so we’ll have to wait until next year. But our garden area is on the side of the house where we have lots of sun. Our tomatoes grew like crazy last summer!

I did a post awhile back on “sun plotting.” Basically, you want to make a diagram of your yard and write down the differing amounts of sunlight for each area during the day. It’s really helpful if you’re not sure what to plant where. 🙂

22 Margitta July 6, 2010 at 5:14 pm

I have looked into lasagna gardening recently and I am really motivated to set up one in fall and have a garden next summer! These pictures are a great inspiration! I have started coposting and I collect newspaper! Just the norrwegian climate restricts my garden dreams a little…

23 Melanie July 6, 2010 at 5:20 pm

My dad has a garden in Florida (I am in Cincy) and I miss all of those fresh veggies. Things come in later up here.

I would love to have a garden that the first picture. I’m with you, we could wear our flip flops while picking our veggies:)

24 Karen July 6, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Thanks for the inspiration. Once we sell our condo and get a house I so want to do this!

25 Southern Gal July 6, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Hey, I have a good enough garden, too!
.-= Southern Gal´s last blog ..Little Firecracker =-.

26 Condo Blues July 6, 2010 at 7:54 pm

The thing I like about that garden is the fence. My in-laws did a similar one with their garden. The wire fencing kept rabbits and my dog out of the garden while the wood fence posts were prettier and easier to install than metal poles for chain link (practical but not very pretty IMHO.)
.-= Condo Blues´s last blog ..CSN Stores Gift Certificate Giveaway =-.

27 Carolyn July 6, 2010 at 11:30 pm

I can’t thank you enough for this post! I had seen that article (I LOVE TOH magazine) and thought the same thing! We are buying a new (old) house and I want to make a place in the yard for that fabulous garden. Unfortunately, then I forgot what magazine it was in and threw them all away and no longer had the pictures for inspiration (or to show my husband!) SO, thanks for posting this! I had actually been thinking that I saw it in Better Homes and Gardens, so I was definitely not even looking in the right places when I went back to try and find the pics. Definitely post pictures if you do this! I’d love to hear about the process. Thanks for your blog!

28 Kim July 7, 2010 at 6:56 am

I have that exact picture torn out as a model for my garden for next year! We will work on the fence, etc in August!

29 Andrea L. July 13, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Would you mind telling me which issue the photo of the raised beds came out of. I subscribe to TOH magazine, but don’t recall seeing the photo of this garden you ladies are talking about. Thanks a bunch!


30 Carol N. July 7, 2010 at 11:10 am

Love the ‘potager’ garden. This would be perfect for growing a few things and (hopefully) keeping the deer away. Can’t wait to see what you come up with for next year.

31 Melissa Howard July 7, 2010 at 11:51 am

Can’t wait to see where you go with your inspiration!! It looks lovely.
.-= Melissa Howard´s last blog ..Lamp Refashion =-.

32 Sandy July 7, 2010 at 1:41 pm

The photos of those wonder ful ‘Kitchen Gardens” are really nice
and I sure wish you one of your own! I had one in Illinois behind
my old farm house and it produced such wonderful Veggies for
the 9 years I lived there.. then I moved to Florida.. Hopeless in
the town house property I live on… the ground slopes to a
creek,, I have critters that eat everything.. So I now go to my
local Farmers Market! End of story…lol
Love the idea of a pretty fence around the garden!
.-= Sandy´s last blog ..Rainy Season in Florida =-.

33 Julia July 7, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I am terrified of gardening and think that I’d kill anything were I to try. I would like an herb garden though. I’ll have to check your links.
.-= Julia´s last blog ..Guest Post- Hattie of Little Red Roost =-.

34 Marie July 7, 2010 at 6:18 pm

I like the looks of the dream garden. Having a garden done like that would solve a lot of our problems–squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs, etc. We have had yellow squash, zucchini, peppers, and tomatoes so far this summer. It is so hot and dry here in the South, 100 degrees today, that the garden is drying up. My husband has tried watering it but the city water is not so good. I hope your dream comes true for next year.
.-= Marie´s last blog ..Tea Cup Bird Feeder =-.

35 Sandy July 7, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Good enough is good enough for me, too! Can’t wait to see it.

Two days ago I wrote about our strawberries and JAM. I love going to the garden and getting our OWN produce.

Remind me, let’s link up. I’m going to be doing another garden post, too.

Love you Kimba!
.-= Sandy´s last blog ..Ping- Ping- Ping- The Sound of Canned Cherries- =-.

36 Mary Lou July 7, 2010 at 9:35 pm

I love the raised beds and the beauty. I try not to think about the work it would take since we gave it up. Beautiful photos.
.-= Mary Lou´s last blog ..RUSTY MAILBOXES =-.

37 Meredith July 9, 2010 at 7:16 pm

My Aunt and Uncle in New Jersey have a garden that looks like that first one. I drool over it…all the way from Arizona. We are doing legwork for a better garden for next year too. We tore up our sprinkler/irrigation system late spring and ran water to where we will want our garden. We can plant in the fall. I am so excited about that. We have to have water running to the garden via sprinkler system/drip irrigation or it is really hard to keep up on the watering. And the sun bakes little home gardens here in Phoenix like crazy so running the water over there is the best thing we could do!

38 Kristen @ More Than Mulberries July 10, 2010 at 2:47 am

That Country Living garden is pretty amazing. I’d have to get rid of trampolines, sandboxes and dump trucks to make that happen!

39 Erin @ Little Apartment on the Prairie July 10, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Thanks for sharing. We have a tiny space to use outside of our apartment’s backdoor. I was working on making a couple of raised beds for lettuces and herbs, BUT oh-boy! What a job with a toddling baby running around. It’s been a month and a half since I’ve started and I think maybe I’ll just be making this a space for next year at this rate.
.-= Erin @ Little Apartment on the Prairie´s last blog ..Fridays Favorite Things A Little Homesteady Goodness =-.

40 Ami Allison July 13, 2010 at 12:47 pm

I LOVE your garden! I have wanted one for years! We recently moved from Houston, TX to Phoenix AZ. Now I’m alil afraid of what will and will not grow out here. I will say this…the really “fancy” landscaping out here and vegetation is BEAUTIFUL. There are some incredibly neat looking plants that grow out here amongst the sand and rocks. See, now you have inspired me to create a desert garden with beautiful photos and post that to my blog. Thanks for such a wonderful inspiring post.

41 dawn davidson July 13, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Beatutiful! I found you over at TGC (Diana’s). We’ll be buying a house soon and I sooo can’t wait to set up a garden like this. I’m going to follow you so I can find it again. (smile) I even love the ‘good enough’ one. Beautiful photos too. Thanks for posting this.

.-= dawn davidson´s last blog ..Michelle Cookies =-.

42 Stephanie Suesan Smith July 26, 2010 at 9:34 pm

I like the elegant simplicity of the first garden. Sort of like a zen vegetable garden. I can see doing that.
Stephanie Suesan Smith´s last blog post ..Planning a Landscape

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