The Kitchen Garden at Yerres, Gustave Caillebotte (1877)
The Kitchen Garden, Anton Mauve (19th century), The Netherlands
A potager garden can most simply be defined as a type of kitchen garden located directly adjacent to the back door of a house. These gardens were originally very formal in structure, often quite large, and sometimes required a number of people to maintain them.
These days the rules are much more relaxed. The potager garden might be considered the ultimate in companion planting and is usually a source of flowers, herbs, vegetables and fruits all growing in an area directly adjacent to a house. The traditional potager has a layout based on repetitive geometric patterns. These gardens are often bordered by a wall or by a hedge such as boxwood that has been pruned in a formal style.
You can start a potager in any season when the ground is workable, planting about two-thirds of the garden and leaving a third free to be planted later in staggered plantings. Select flower varieties for continuous bloom and select vegetables with seasonality and continuity in mind. The plants should also be low-maintenance varieties that can be planted close together.
Château de Villandry, France
(top photos-all pd, Château de Villandry - Peter Dutton, cc-by-2.0; Paris - moonlik, cc-by-sa-3.0; Belarus - David Brewer, cc-by-sa-2.0; Austria - Ewald Gabardi, cc-by-sa-3.0; USA - Thomas R Machnitzki, cc-by-sa-3.0)