I challenge anyone to find a kitchen garden in a more dramatic setting than this potager at Fort La Latte in North Brittany. It is more like rock gardening than vegetable growing. The fort is perched right on the edge of pink granite cliffs where the castle walls since the 14th century have been used as a defence, not just against invaders, but against the power of the sea.
This castle has it all. Dungeons, crenulations, turrets, towers, cannonball ovens (yes cannonball ovens) and a dramatic drawbridge as an entrance that leads visitors over the jagged rocks and swirling sea into the inner sanctum of the solid castle walls. And, of course, it has a kitchen garden or as the French call them a ‘potager’!
The crashing waves sound reminiscent of how the cannons would have boomed across the sea when defending itself. Dame Isabelle’s potager is a glorious mix of colour and cacophony. Foliage and seed heads dance in the sea breezes, forming a frothy swathe as the castle walls and barricades meet the swirling Atlantic coast head-on.
Although it may seem like an unlikely setting for a kitchen garden, many castles would have had to produce food and be self-sufficient in case they were under siege. The word potager is derived from the French word for soup ‘potage’, and is their magical word for kitchen gardens with their culinary mix of herbs and vegetables.
The French are masters at making functional features such as kitchen gardens into something enchantingly intoxicating. This potager combines drama and grandeur with chic and rustic!!.
And I love these slate labels they’ve used…
This kitchen garden rocks!