Kitchen Gardens #atozchallenge


The Kitchen Garden

 After the Second World War, country houses in England found there was no longer a surplus of gardeners seeking private service.The large kitchen gardens reverted back to their owners. Some of these gardens disappeared all together, the rest reduced in size. A small kitchen garden is now referred to as a potager, a French word for a vegetable garden or an ornamental kitchen garden. This is the kind of information I gathered while writing my novel, Greening of a Heart. 

In the book, Hannah Winchester tells a group of ladies she is showing through her kitchen garden, “Even if you are growing a utilitarian potager, keep it orderly, use every inch, keep it unpretentious and you will be rewarded not only with your production, but with the beauty you’ve created.”

How differently things are grown since those vast Victorian gardens exsisted.  Vegetables are grown organically now. How differently an Agatha Christie’s mystery would have turned out without a number of poisonous chemicals, arsenic in particular, that were used in the old kitchen gardens.

After the war economics drove the changes in the large kitchen gardens, but the evolution of this type of gardening suits us today. A rekindled interest in community gardens is certainly prevalent in North Carolina, successful restaurants are featuring a ‘garden to table’ menu. Children are learning how to grow vegetables in their school gardens. Retirement communities offer small plots where residents can grow fresh  produce. I throughly enjoyed the research I pursued about kitchen gardens/potagers while preparing to write Greening of a Heart, where a potager is an important part of the story.

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her:
This entry was posted in A to Z Blog Challenge - April 2013 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Kitchen Gardens #atozchallenge

  1. Teresa says:

    Very interesting. I usually plant a few things in the spring/summer. This year I’m planting spinach (my daughter’s recomendation) in big pots.

  2. Potagers. That’s a nice sounding word. Interesting article, thank you. Fortunately for me, a vegetable garden was something I grew up with. It was one way that the parents could eat the vegetables that they grew up with from their home country.

  3. Hi Stepheny, I was very pleased to find your blog with several lovely posts about gardens. I live in Oxfordshire, England and my A to Z post for the letter K was for Kitchen Gardens too.

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