Kitchen Gardens

Ian Barker is interviewed for Western Australian publication, Minestyle Magazine. He gives his expert tips on creating your own kitchen garden.

A little while ago, we were asked our expert opinion on kitchen gardens for an article to appear in the September/October issue of Western Australian publication, Minestyle Magazine.
Keep reading for Ian’s take on the top tips for a successful and attractive kitchen garden…
Eating from your garden is great in itself but you still want it to look good.
We spoke to Victoria-based landscape gardener, Ian Barker, for some top tips on how to turn even the smallest kitchen garden into a backyard oasis.

Keep it simple:

Use mostly larger pots rather than loads of small ones and create varying levels of perspective and interest.

“You want to have green on the boundaries but don’t push it all to the back. Have one or two strategically placed plants nearer to the property – which give a glimpse of what’s around the corner.”

Rules of arrangement:

Choose the shape of your pots and then stick to it because a mix of round pots and angular pots “never works”. With round pots – use an odd number, varying in size and “arranged in an apparently disorganised cluster”.

With angular pots – arrange in a more “regimented” style, in rows or with two ‘feature pots’ that you walk through, so they punctuate and divide the space.

When using pots in kitchen garden, Landscape Designer Ian Barker recommends using an odd number of round pots and arranging them in an apparently disorganized cluster.
Clustered round pots

Mix it up:
Mix up what and when you plant to have a colourful mix all year round.
Use the largest pot for a citrus or fruit-bearing tree and then sow a mix of veggies, herbs and edible flowers. Also, make use of the soil around the trunk of the citrus tree to sow herbs like oregano or thyme but never mint – it strangles the soil, and must be potted on its own.

Ian recommends potting mint on its own as it strangles the soil.
Potted Mint

Green guides:
Espalier trees (they grow in rows along a wall) – like citrus, apple or even pear, apricot or cherry, can do wonders for smaller gardens and use up next to no space.
“You’ll have a high yield citrus tree and use up only 100mm of garden space and you’ll have a lush green wall.”

Ian Barker says espaliered fruit trees do wonders for gardens with next to no space as they grow flat against a wall or trellis but still produce a high yield of fruit.
An Espaliered Lemon Tree

– by Kami Ramini