Cultivating beauty

By Adrian Higgins
Washington Post Gardening Columnist
Thursday, August 26, 2010; GZ08

If the vegetable garden is king again, isn't it time to build it a palace? Lagging behind the idea that homegrown veggies are nutritious and oh-so green is the more radical notion that the garden plot can be beautiful.

This is achieved by building the garden methodically with various elements. Moreover, it is accomplished by a shift in thinking.

The basic approach of carving out a growing bed from the lawn may create a patch to raise vegetables, but it doesn't establish a vegetable garden. By adding features such as paths, fences and trellises, you define a space that is attractive as well as functional. Together, these elements serve to form a garden with its own character and presence.

"It makes it a destination," said Nancy Moitrier, a landscape designer whose vegetable garden is wrapped with an eight-foot-high cedar enclosure built by her husband, Pierre, in their suburban Annapolis garden.

Assembling such a vegetable garden takes planning, time, materials and work, making fall the optimum season to put together a space that will be ready for spring planting. This is a project for people who are handy and love to decorate. Relatively cheap to build, whimsical in form and ultimately productive, the vegetable garden can be the sweetest place on Earth.

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