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Meet Our Community: Jen McGuinness, author, blogger, zinnia lover

Let’s get to know each other!

Since we’re not able to meet up in person this year, let’s meet online. Every week we’re introducing a member* of our Fling community here and on Instagram, in their own words. We’re excited to see what everyone’s talking about and sharing with their followers!

(*Any garden blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or Instagrammer who follows our Instagram or is a member of our Facebook group. If you’d like to be considered or recommend someone for a Meet Our Community profile, email us.)

Jen McGuinness

When we moved into our Central Connecticut home, I immediately began tearing up the lawn in favor of flowers and vegetables. My front garden can look a bit wild, but I feel it’s very important to provide food for insects and other critters. I like to blend pollinator and wildlife-friendly plants, especially for butterflies and songbirds.

My favorite flower, unsurprisingly, is the zinnia. Not only did it inspire my blog name, Frau Zinnie (aka Mrs. Zinnia), but it’s easy to grow, provides food for pollinators, and comes in a variety of bright colors. Indoors, houseplants occupy every available window in my house, and grow lights brighten darker spaces and help me start seeds indoors. I have several orchids and have recently started collecting philodendrons.

After a bleak winter I need exclamation points of color all across my property, so I grow many muscari and daffodil bulbs. My favorite garden is Winterthur when the bulbs are blooming in spring. I was blown away by the garden’s March Bank when I saw it in peak bloom with millions of scilla and glory-of-the-snow, as well as naturalized daffodils and thousands of minor bulbs. Winterthur practices “succession of bloom,” so something is always flowering – the ultimate garden!

Due to limited areas of full sun, I’ve had to get creative to grow edibles. Compact and dwarf varieties, especially dwarf tomatoes, offer a way to grow food in a small space. I’m excited to share that my upcoming book Micro Food Gardening: Project Plans and Plants for Growing Fruits and Veggies in Tiny Spaces will be published in March 2021!

At Frau Zinnie, in addition to sharing my gardening experiences, I interview other garden experts. One of the things I like best about gardening is that there is always something new to learn, and I like to be part of the conversation. Gardeners are so friendly and always willing to share tips about what worked for them and what didn’t. I feel that gardeners share a common goal: getting other people as excited about growing plants as they are. I hope that readers of Frau Zinnie will find useful information and try to grow something too.


Thanks for sharing your work and your gardening passions with us, Jen! You can follow Jen at Frau Zinnie and on her Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube channel.

Photographs courtesy of Jen McGuinness.


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