Organic gardener growing food and flowers, lovin' pollinators and birds.

About Jen & This Blog

Photo credit: Rob McGuinness

Welcome to the world of Frau Zinnie!

I began regularly blogging as Frau Zinnie in 2011. (It translates to Mrs. Zinnia — bet you now know what my favorite flower is.)

Here you will find my writing, photography and personal gardening experiences in my Connecticut, U.S. garden, along with interviews with garden experts.

I follow organic gardening methods and grow both ornamental and edible plants. I like to experiment with growing compact and dwarf edibles in containers.

Each year I incorporate more pollinator-friendly varieties, and I'm also working on including more native plants to provide food for the songbirds in the garden.

In April 2021 my first gardening book, "Micro Food Gardening: Project Plans and Plants for Growing Fruits and Veggies in Tiny Spaces," will be published by Cool Springs Press/Quarto Knows. It features 30 projects that are examples of how you can grow food in the smallest of spaces. It also includes everything you need to be successful with these projects — such as tips about soil, lighting and watering — things you might not know if you are new to gardening. I hope "Micro Food Gardening" gets people excited about gardening, no matter what their skill level or expertise. (More info on the release, here.)

When I am not in the garden, I work in the communications field as a writer and editor and I am a professional photographer, too (samples of my photography can be found here). In spring 2022, I completed the Home Horticulture Certificate program via the University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension. 

I am also available for gardening lectures for garden clubs and the community.

Awesome experiences

In 2017, I had the amazing opportunity to go to California as a #NGBPlantNerd, where I learned a ton about the seed industry. I have been a trial grower for J. Berry Nursery, Proven Winners, Park Seed, Burpee, Darwin Perennials and PanAmerican Seeds and a product tester for the Eco Garden Systems. Any plants and/or products that I receive for review purposes are noted on the blog. 

I have been honored to be a guest on several podcasts to promote "Micro Food Gardening", including:

7/5/22: Jen appears as a guest on the Sacred Airspace to talk about pollinators, her first book and her garden. More info here

12/10/21: Jen appears on episode 649 of the Urban Farm Podcast to talk about growing food in small spaces. Listen here.

11/18/21: Jen appears on the Garden Path Podcast to talk about "Micro Food Gardening." Listen here. 

4/11/21: Talking tiny plants with Central Texas Gardener. Click here to find out how to watch.

March- April 2021: Jen joins Kevin Espiritu on the Epic Gardening podcast to talk about "Micro Food Gardening":
3/3/21: Podcast appearance on Down the Garden Path. Click here to listen.

I've also been a guest on the following:

A little more background

I caught the gardening bug early. As a child, I was busy poking marigold and sunflower seeds in the ground while living in Queens, New York. I was blessed to grow up in a gardening family: my mom adored houseplants, my father grew ornamentals and my grandfather grew edibles in every available spot.

All three taught me the basics of gardening  — knowledge I would later tap into when my husband and I purchased our first home in 2009.

I immediately began tearing up the expansive green lawn in favor of flowers and vegetables. And trees. And more flowers. The neighbors originally thought I was crazy, but now dog-walkers and joggers stop to talk plants while I'm outside. It's now the largest front garden on the block – and I spend a lot of my free time outside gardening when I can.

About the garden

I garden in Zone 6b, which refers to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Hardiness Zone map. This means that the average cold weather minimum temperature for my growing region is -5 to 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-20.6 to -17.8 degrees Celsius). 

Why does this matter? It helps determine which type of plants will do well in my growing region. It also influences what type of garden tasks I will complete in my area in a certain month. (This can shift for those located in colder and warmer zones.)

How to reach me

To keep up with what's blooming in my garden or the latest gardening news, you can subscribe to my blog. You can also follow me on Twitter at JenMGardens, on Instagram at Frau Zinnie or on the Frau Zinnie Facebook page. Reach me by email at frauzinnie(at)

"If you want it, you can grow it!"

Updated 8.25.22

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