Recently while researching an article on patterned kitchen gardens I came across a book in a secondhand bookshop called ‘The Art of the Kitchen Garden, by Jan and Michael Gertley.’ A quick leaf through the pages told me that I had to buy it. The designs in it use vegetables and small annual flowers to create designs that are quite amazing.
The book was written in 1999, and I think it’s out of print now. Although you can still buy second hand copies on Amazon. The patterns in the book are taken from quit designs and are, I think, a little out of date. Some of them are a bit twee and I could imagine them in my grandma’s garden.
But… from a growing perspective what the authors have done with vegetables is very impressive.
The designs tend to use Cabbage and Kale and different coloured and textured Lettuce. And the patterns themselves are kept ‘crisp’ by defining pathways in bright orange pebbles and using annual flowers like white Alyssum, purple Lobelia and Pansies to edge the beds. All of these can be easily raised from seed in great numbers.
I’ve always been interested in using patterns in the kitchen garden. I devoured Joy Larkom’s book on using vegetables to create aesthetic gardens. And with inspiration from this book I’m already working on some new designs of my own. Straight rows are lovely for hoeing between but I think I want more from my kitchen garden.