Folks have asked, “How can I mix annuals, perennials, vegetables and herbs together in one space?” The answer depends on your zone, the time of year you wish to enjoy your garden and the particular plants you prefer. The secret is spacing things out so you can reach in and harvest the vegetables and herbs without disturbing the showy annuals and herbaceous perennials. Shrubs take care of themselves, and you only need to mind their position and spacing so the taller ones don’t block the sun from the shorter plants.
This careful space allocation process is the essence of garden design. A potager is a classic form of small, mixed-use vegetable plots. Well-edged, they blend nicely with perennials and annuals, depending on your taste. The lambs lie down with the lions, so to speak. Play around. Here is a cool climate/season plan, recommended by Heronswood’s Research Director Grace Romero and horticulturist Bill Rein. We’ll post midsummer and late summer/early fall in parts 2 and 3.