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Herbal Travels: Visiting the Château de Villandry and Admiring Kitchen Gardens

4/28/2009 2:59:16 PM

Tags: Chateau de Villandry, France, Travel, Lemon Verbena Lady, Botanical Gardens, Gardening,

N.Heraud

You can check out the Lemon Verbena Lady at her blog http://lemonverbenalady.blogspot.com.

I thought I would take a break from stories about Peru. I was inspired by Taylor Miller's blog (The Garden Gnome), Giving the White House a Green Thumb. This was a lettuce bed in the early days of our kitchen garden BD (before deer). We also have rabbit fencing surrounding the garden now and repellents work for deer browsing. When we forget to spray the repellents, the deer remember to eat! (Learn more about repelling deer from your garden.) 

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Whether you have one bed for your kitchen garden or many beds, herbal kitchen gardens are making a huge difference in many lives all over the world. (Learn more about creating your own kitchen garden this summer.)

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Several years ago, I went to France with my husband to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. Our English friends, who we stayed with in the Loire Valley, took us to the Château de Villandry. I thought I had died and gone to herbal heaven. It is breathtaking and spectacular all at the same time. It was the last great château to be built in 1536. After the gardens were turned into an English park in the late 19th century, the house and gardens were restored by a Spanish scientist in the 20th century. Thank heavens! The herb garden was placed in a separate location than it was in medieval times. I was really looking forward to seeing it but was disappointed–the herb garden was clipped so severely that I could not recognize my favorite herbs. This one is lemon verbena!  Doesn't look at all like it, does it?

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We recently returned from a trip to England. We drove one day to Grafton Underwood and came upon this Englishman starting work on his allotment in early March. He paid 4 pounds (about $5.60) for his plot, which will feed his family and leave enough left for a donation. 

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Last week, I did a presentation on herbal kitchen gardens for a local garden club last week–I wrote this ode and would like to share it with you.

Ode to Herbal Kitchen Gardens

The Greeks and Romans celebrated with bay.
The monks grew their sage and thyme and used them every day.
Walls were built around to protect the young herb plants.
The monks needed diversity and left nothing to chance.
The English used the front yard to start the four square plot.
The rosemary, kale and roses were raised and eaten on the spot.
The French made their potagers as pretty as a picture.
Then planted lettuces, marigolds and young fruit trees to add to the mixture.
Washington, Jefferson, FDR and Obama had kitchen gardens in their blood and some haved lived into the next generation like new edible flower buds!
So plant an herbal kitchen garden this very day and you will start reaping the bounty in every savory way!

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Hope you are starting your own herbal kitchen gardens because, among other good things, it brings beneficial insects and wonderful, flavorful meals using all of the various herbs you have grown.



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