Getting Your Hands Dirty
Hands down, gardens are hot, hot & hotter than ever. Greener movements could be a driving force behind this, but I am willing to bet that the new film, "It's complicated was a jumpstart for the American version of the French Potager garden".
According to the L.A. Times, it's the lush, perky and luring garden that is well, almost pornagraphic for silver screen decor / design viewers. The recent look into a cooks garden has sent online gardening sites to dig up more resources to accomodate the demand for product. In the film, the talented group of set designers ( hailing from sets like Jurrasick Park ) have done such an incredible job that you don't know whather to envy it, or be scared of the maitenance to keep it up and running.
However you decide to react, it is apparent that cooking, and providing some of your own ingredients in in full style ( as it was with many of our ancestors, mine included; simple ol' farm folks hailing from Kingfisher, Oklahoma ). This is an honest and simple approach to cultivating and providing food for not only thought but consumption.
I love this portrayal of a French inspired garden, though according to the set designer; this is not a garden humanly possible to recreate, even Martha Stewart ( whew, I am feeling a sigh of relief ) as the veggies were grown in a greenhouse for two months before being "planted" in the garden. And if any of you ( like me, green thumb challenged ) would like to know, the tomatoes in the film were wired to the vine. All that said, one of my friends and her husband has the most fab garden and it was a thought for my Spring list to infuse some garden into my backyard this year. They have the most wonderful organic tomatos, pappers and their salsa is to die for!! An interesting side note; the entire garden was donated to an inner city school after completion of the film.
Another version of a Potager garden featured in Southern Living magazine. A Potager garden combines the English kitchen garden with the style and grace of French fashion. Normally it is an ornamental vegetable garden. The plantings are chosen for their edible as well as decorative qualities. Plants are put together to show not only a beautiful, but an edible garden that is as pretty as it is providing food for eating.
You can be creative when designing a Portager garden, as there are no real rules to follow for the design. Many designs are used some based on knot gardens, pattern repeats or symmetrical shapes and designs.These are typical designs that Portager gardens are known for; but a less formal garden can be accomplished and grown with a traditional cottage garden design. Whatever your style; take the elements that best suit you and have fun with the layout. A garden is meant to be a stress reliever not a stress maker, scale it down or turn it up depending on your lifestyle and needs. As truth in interior design, the choice is a personal one, full of your own likes and dislikes. In the end, you will be able to enjoy some really healthy and home grown products that you cultivated!
Just looking at the house as you drive up, the cascading roses and the well manicured lawn is enticing. I am waiting for a peek into the backyard, and the inside of the house promises to be equally incredible. Hard to even think of gardens right now ( with snow on the ground ), but this time of year is perfect for planning the Spring's plantings, going over seeds, and looking to a crop of actual home grown products.
The outdoor portico in the film is a feast for the eyes. One of the two outdoor seating area's from the film. I love the way the colors from the architecture of the home is played in the outdoor color of the space. Nancy Meyers is a genius in set designing, I have been a fan of hers thru many films. The settings are lush but still attainable and can be reproduced. Notably, after completing this film, Meyers will begin her own home build for her most important client, ....... herself!
The other outdoor setting from the film. I know the trend for outdoor is increasingly common, however I look back to out door porches and sleeping porches of days gone by. I think the idea is not so new, but the idea of taking the time to use the space is getting a lot more attention these days. Why not stay home to dine alfresco? While you are at it, have some homegrown cherry tomato & fresh mozzarella balls from the grill? All the while sipping from your own backyard?
This year, I am raising my glass to a new garden, hopefully I can post some progress & accomplishments.
I will keep you all in the loop of garden twine!
Cheers! Here's to garden blooms!
Melinda Sue Gordon / Universal Studios Photo Credits