SG534: Create a Vibrant Garden Blog with Scrumptious Harvest Recipes with Jen McGuinness of Frau Zinnie

It’s a rare gardener who: 1. loves rabbits, 2. co-exists with a mother groundhog nesting under the potting shed, 3. respects the right to life of black walnut trees, and 4. gingerly saves a dragonfly caught in a spider web. Indeed, Jen McGuinness just might be one of the most kind-hearted gardeners on the planet. With a gentle wit that winds it’s way into her posts on her blog, Frau ZinnieJen McGuinness is also a professional freelance photographer by trade. Frau Zinnie highlights Jen’s personal gardening experiences in Portland, Connecticut. She also has a lovely (and hilarious) Twitter presence you must follow!

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“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson.

Frau Zinnie Still Growing Podcast 6ftmama blog

Interview Questions

What drew you to the name Frau Zinnie and, of course, the follow up to that is – how much do you like Zinnias?

Time Stamp: 10:05

Did you always envision your blog to be a gardening blog?

Time Stamp: 12:00

Tell us about your life in Portland, Connecticut and what brought you there?

Time Stamp: 14:35

On your blog, you post pretty regularly on Fridays with a post called Floral Friday. These Friday entries document your garden for that particular week. You’re so consistent with it – are you a detail-oriented person?

Time Stamp: 17:00

Do you ever have people who want to share their Floral Fridays with you?

Time Stamp: 17:35

When you’re out there gardening, do you bring just your camera or do you also take along a notepad of some kind?

Time Stamp: 20:30

Are you a compulsive person at all in the garden? If so, what are you most compulsive about?

Time Stamp: 22:20

When you think about your garden and areas that are struggling points for you, why do you think those spots are so problematic?

Time Stamp: 23:30

Are there any garden thugs that you wished you shouldn’t have planted?

Time Stamp: 27:00

Are you an organic gardener?

Time Stamp: 28:30

Did you have an event that happened to you that made you want to go towards organic gardening?

Time Stamp: 29:50

What has visiting other gardens done for you as a gardener?

Time Stamp: 34:10

Each month you post your list of suggested garden chores. I love this! Tell us about your to-do list for this month.

Time Stamp: 38:35

What are you most proud of in your garden?

Time Stamp: 42:15

You are a very unique gardener because you have a soft spot for rabbits. I always see them on social media. Tell us about your rabbits.

Time Stamp: 45:20

How do you handle your rabbits running free in the garden? Are they potty trained?

Time Stamp: 49:35

I listened to your interview on Back to My Garden with Dave LeDoux and you discussed your black walnut tree. What other major obstacles do you have to contend with in your garden space?

Time Stamp: 54:50

I adored your recent twitter post where you were rapping about your fig tree. “Figgy figgy figgy, can’t you see? Sometimes this plant just hypnotizes me- I just love your flashy ways” That is awesome! What are your learning about fig trees this year?

Time Stamp: 1:00:00

Are you an easily enchanted gardener or do you resist allowing your emotions to guide you in the garden?

Time Stamp: 1:03:00

You mentioned you know what can grow by a black walnut tree. What are some of your favorite things to plant near it?

Time Stamp: 1:04:35

I read your blog post about soil testing. What do listeners need to know?

Time Stamp: 1:08:20

You grow a pretty good variety of edibles, including watermelons. What did you think about growing watermelon for the first time?

Time Stamp: 1:11:05

Let’s spend a little more time with the edibles for a bit. What else do you like to grow?

Time Stamp: 1:13:20

When you’re doing these recipes, where do people find them on your blog?

Time Stamp: 1:19:20

What do you regard as your central strength as a gardener?

Time Stamp: 1:20:05

What are your favorite zinnia flowers to grow?

Time Stamp: 1:21:05

We have to chat a bit about your photography before you go. How do you take such great photos. What are your tips?

Time Stamp: 1:22:44

How do you store and organize all the photos you’ve taken?

Time Stamp: 1:25:05

What kind of camera do you recommend to someone who is just starting out?

Time Stamp: 1:28:45

What kind of bag do you use to put all your camera equipment in?

Time Stamp: 1:29:50

You’re going to an upcoming event soon and I’m so jealous. Where are you going?

Time Stamp: 1:31:45

Jen McGuinness Frau Zinnie Still Growing Podcast 6ftmama blog

Frau Zinnie


Frau Zinnie


Resources Mentioned

Still Growing Podcast Group
Petzval Lens
Garden Chat
LaCie External Hard Drives
Margaret Roach Open Garden Day

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What listeners are saying…

I never write reviews but this is the best gardening podcast out there. Jennifer has interesting topics and guests and is not one bit annoying like some others are. I love that she involves her kids at the end of the podcast – usually with poetry or music. Really good podcast.

– Barbcfc, Mar 23, 2016

Still Growing is one of the reliably informative gardening podcasts from North America. The format consists of an intro (personal gardening status chat, seasonal remarks), an extended interview with a guest, and an outro with funny outtakes, side remarks, and some chatter (poems, readings) from the host’s children. The podcast is focused on reliable knowledge – the guests are typically experts like academics, master gardeners, gardening entrepreneurs or public garden leaders. The intro and especially the outro give it a homey feel. Given I live in the high northern region, just a little below the Polar Circle, I’m always looking for more cold-weather oriented gardening information. Jennifer Ebeling is in Minnesota, so that’s helpful to me! Vegetable gardening (my main interest) gets a good share, but is not predominant. Most topics transcend your specific gardening interest and are applicable to many styles: landscaping principles, vermicomposting, greenhouses. The episodes are typically an hour long, which is just fine for me.

– cwaigl, May 29, 2014

Best gardening podcast out there. Her preparedness leads to a good interaction with the guests and brings out the best in them. Very informative and yet personable.

– Corn bug, June 15, 2016

This is a great podcast. Really well produced and organized with good sound quality. I love the mix of information and personal touches. Jennifer has great guests and asks the best questions. You can tell she really does her homework. I listen to several gardening podcasts and this is my absolute favorite!

– So Cal Gardengirl, June 19,2016

Still growing...

Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
Jennifer Ebeling
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