The first challenge I am facing in creating a potager garden is in the pronouncing of it.
Mispronouncing words has always been the bane of my existence.
Back in high school I remember diligently studying up for a test on the First Nation people only to have the teacher toss out a comment on a new group just before we were about to flip over our test papers and begin, sending me into a panic.
The Sue! Who were the Sues? I hadn’t studied anything about the Sues.
Fortunately the Sue people didn’t make the test paper, much to my relief.
I am mortified to report that it took me several years after graduating before I realized the Sioux people (which I had been mispronouncing as Sigh-Ox) were, indeed, the “Sues” the teacher had referred to.
My biggest problem is that I am a shy introvert who reads and writes far more than I speak.
Words are silently read, pronounced incorrectly in my head, and there they reside until a humiliating verbal aha moment strikes.
And so it seemed to be with potager gardens.
I have been reading about potager gardens for years and cheerfully pronouncing it in my head as pot-a-jur.
Then I came across a you tube video where some person was calling it a pot-a-jay garden.
A bit more research found that unlike my Sioux confusion, the potager pronunciation commonly goes both ways, though the latter is probably the correct one. It is sort of like clem-atis vs clem-a-tis. Or, I suppose, toe-may-toe vs tah-mat-oe. Or kah-tone-ee-aster vs cotton-easter. Though with the latter, maybe it is never pronounced cotton easter.
This is probably why I love writing about gardening, but shrink from talking about it. Or maybe it is why I love writing period, but am not much for chitchat.
Then I came across a wonderful quote by that prolific genius Anonymous that went:
Never make fun of someone if they mispronounce a word. It means they learned it by reading.
The sun came out, the angels sang and, at long last, I stood tall.
Maybe mispronouncing a word simply outs you as a voracious reader and tells the world you are smarter than average.
Okay, maybe I went too far.
But I still love the quote and plan to mutter it to myself like a mantra the next time I say a word wrong in public.
And now back to planning my potager garden, however the world pronounces it.