spring turnips

First harvest of the season: Hakurei turnips, scallions and mesclun

"Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder." - E.B. White

Hello Everyone.

When you visit my kitchen garden, you might notice a wide mix of objets d'art; a stone sculpture named Autumn, a relic from my grandmother's garden; a rustic hand-hewn trellis bought on a whim, and now wish I had bought two. A bevy of whimsical geese forms a backdrop for wild poppies.

Stopping to pause, to look more closely, to find that sweet spot in the landscape for a comfy bench, or build an arbor for the birds to perch, and climbing roses to ramble, this is how I start my garden season. Planting the garden happens only after I have everything in place.

Similar to preparing a mis en place when preparing a meal, I'm always thinking about blending flavors and fragrance, yet also setting the stage with elements that bring everything together in unexpected ways.

Once a very practical gardener, when I tended a four-acre market garden, the idea of taking away precious growing space for pleasure did not exist. Yet now, my smaller kitchen garden has become an extension of my home, where I make it more inviting for myself, and others to visit.

Adding style and personality to the garden adds to the feeling of comfort and sanctuary. Keep finding fresh ways to turn work into play. Grow a beautiful food garden, an edible painting just outside your kitchen door.

As Always,
Ellen Ecker Ogden

Author of The Complete Kitchen Garden and The New Heirloom Garden. Designs, Books, and Classes For Gardeners Who Love to Cook.

New Heirloom Book. Cover

Buy an autographed copy.

design chapter opener

Designs, Recipes and Heirloom Plants for Cooks who Love to Garden


Cookbook Writing Class Starts on May 6th

My kitchen garden is filling with cold-hardy herbs, salad greens, perennial chicories. Like a well-timed symphony, the peas are emerging just as the rosy red knobs of rhubarb stridently push upwards. Soon, I'll be baking ginger rhubarb pie, and rhubarb strudel to give to neighbors. Cooking from the garden gives me that glass-half-full kind of feeling.

Starting May 6th, my next cookbook writing class begins. How to Write a Family Cookbook is a six-week online series, taught on Zoom. It covers all the basics to get you started collecting your best recipes and designing your own cookbook for family and friends. The class is limited to 10 students, for lots of sharing and individual attention.

To learn more and sign up to reserve your spot, here's a link. Offering free introductory class as a primer.

rhubarb. May 2020

Rhubarb Crumb Coffee Cake

rhubarb crumb pie

Ginger Rhubarb Crumb Pie

garden bench

Reflections | Elements of Style

Garden arts can be anything from a single object, a colorful collection of pots, or an unexpected bench. Here are a few links for inspiration. (All links are non-affiliated.)

Garden Tools:
Garret Wade Tools
Lee Valley Tools

Artful Objects:
Campo de' Fiori
Kinsman Company
Battle Hill Forge

Places to Visit:
Storm King
Chanticleer Garden
Hollister House Garden


"Life begins the day you start a Garden." – Chinese Proverb

Ogden. Cropped Circle

This month, I am pleased to be included in two Better Homes and Gardens magazines featuring my favorite topic: Growing Food. Follow this link and find a copy on the newsstand.

You are receiving this newsletter because you signed up at one of my garden talks, or on the website. If you enjoy this newsletter and want more, consider signing up for my expanded newsletter, The Art of Growing Food.


“And above all watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.” - Roald Dahl

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