This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

a FANTASTIC book: Designing the New Kitchen Garden by J Bartley

I'm really enjoying reading this book. Every word. Its wonderful.

Who would have thought a book on designing the New Kitchen Garden would start way back with medieval gardens? And that garden history would be so fascinating? The drawings of courtyard gardens are detailed and beautiful. Jennifer Bartley is a wonderfully creative and inspiring writer.

I'm enjoying the lists of plants grown in different types of gardens. Medicinals and herbals from monastery plots. Always ready for new (and old!) ideas for next year's garden, I'm imagining an officinalis section with borage, hyssop, lavender, lemon balm and rosemary.

I love the lessons Bartley brings - "that our garden would be a source of pleasure and healing to those that visit us." And the gardener of course. The possibility of balancing spirit, soul and body by nurturing an oasis that provides beauty, a haven of restfulness and fresh authentic food. Of the garden as a "workshop". Of the potager not as a plot hidden in the corner of the backyard, but as a central feature, an all-season landscape. Herbs, vegetable and flowers even in the front yard of the most exclusive neighborhood.

Bartley's photos are beautiful: rhubarb grown to blanch in tall willow baskets with nasturtiums trailing over the edges. Old espaliered fruit trees next to young rows of greens. Companions, structures, plans and lists. I may read this five or six times. It is a rich and full book for gardening at many levels. Outlined guidelines, garden principles, plants list and diagrams. A true inspiration for the new potager.

Designing the New Kitchen Garden: An American Potager Handbook by Jennifer Bartley

Thanks to Timber Books for sending me a free copy of this book for review.

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Anonymous Chiot's Run said...

I love love love this book! I love all the photos of the kitchen gardens, they're fantastic. It's a perfect book if you're looking at ways to organic your potager and make it more beautiful!

This book is almost on permanent loan from the library. I'm always checking it out, I suppose I should buy it!

November 01, 2009 10:35 AM

Blogger lilymarlene said...

What a coincidence.....I have been reading it today too. Because it was raining I was planning next year's beds and hunting through my books for inspiration. It is a great book isn't it?

November 01, 2009 1:32 PM

Blogger Michelle said...

I read about this book on your blog yesterday. Immediately went to my library web site and put it on hold. Stopped by the library on my way to work. And now...I'm about to go and read it! And after this description...I'm thinking that it will be one that goes on my "must have" list! Thanks for sharing...

November 01, 2009 4:02 PM

Anonymous katy said...

This is so funny! I just picked this up from my library last week and *just* started reading it last night. I agree with all your assertions. It makes me really wish I had read it before I planned my own garden.

November 02, 2009 8:10 AM

Blogger jj said...


I recommended this book to you twice last year when you were looking for a grow light setup.

Glad to see you like it.

November 02, 2009 9:35 AM

Blogger kathy said...

Thanks jj, A great recommendation. I should have read it then, but just followed the design for the grow light set up. Mine looks exactly like photo in the book.

November 02, 2009 10:00 AM

Anonymous Katrien said...

Thanks for the recommendation, but what a pity it's so expensive, and my library system doesn't have it yet. I'll put in a request for it.

November 04, 2009 9:57 AM

Blogger Kalena Michele said...

I'm requesting it for Christmas! Brilliant!

November 07, 2009 8:44 PM

Anonymous Jessica said...

This book does have some pictures of lovely gardens and great diagrams including crop rotation for 3 years for inspiration.

I like the look of the garden structures (pea and bean poles, wattle fencing) and wish there were a way to add those to my garden! But there were also practical and inexpensive elements of design, like symmetry, that I plan to add to my own new home's garden.

November 11, 2009 11:00 AM

Blogger Andres and Julia Stell said...

I came across this book last spring after Mother Earth News ran an article on it. I loved it. It was very inspirational, and the pictures and descriptions were great.

November 14, 2009 8:31 PM


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