‘mid 17th century: from French jardin potager ‘garden providing vegetables for the pot’
Oxford English Dictionary
Potagers are gardens which combine fruit, vegetables and herbs with decorative flowers, shrubs and trees. Traditionally they would be set out rather formally, but there is no reason not to combine these different sorts of plants in lots of different styles.
In today’s often cramped town gardens it makes sense to make the useful beautiful as well, intermingling attractive vegetable plants with decorative ones which bees and other insects has many benefits – best use of space, fruit and vegetables pollinated and disease and pests are not able to build up as they do where there is just one crop.
Potagers don’t have to have a cottage garden feel, if you prefer drama bring out their wild side with some bold companions. Here there are several plants known to be ‘thugs’, but even mint isn’t going to swamp a Gunnera, and the angelica like the shade it casts. Cerinthe a decorative plant is much loved by the bees in later half of summer.