‘Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.’
--Albert Einstein

front porch

Watching the hummingbirds perch on the annual vines growing on my summer porch.

Hello Everyone.

I often say that gardeners get their best ideas from other gardeners. We are a curious lot, eager to learn more about plants, design, and how to support nature. As gardeners, we form clubs, attend symposiums, and tour gardens to stay informed. Like going to a museum, you don't have to know anything about a garden to enjoy it, but it helps to have some idea of the artist, the inspiration behind the work, and how it fits into the big picture.

There is no explaining this to people who don't garden. Looking back on my younger gardener self, I knew I'd been hooked when I could easily remember Latin names for perennials, and I read garden books and magazines for fun. Sometimes, I still feel like a beginner, yet by August I've learned to be content simply sitting on the porch, watching plants grow. I think my greatest lesson is to let go of a tidy garden, and allow the plants to go wild.

I've also grown to love whimsy in a garden and totally smitten by the giant trolls at the Maine Botanic Garden A quote from their website: "Our trolls will help you discover new ways to lose—and find—yourself in our forests."

Gardens help us find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. Writing from my summer porch, I am losing myself watching the hummingbirds at the feeder, and the tangle of annual vines creeping up the post. Because we don't know what the future holds, I am pivoting to teach more on-line classes to share ideas and engage in delightful conversations about food and gardens,

In my Vermont garden, I am noticing the evening noises: the low chirp of tree frogs and crickets, the fluttering wings of a hummingbird moth on the Nicotiana. This time of year, I'm learning that I am still a student of the garden, and it is teaching me how to see the beauty and how to listen more deeply.

Wishing you a wonderful month of August. Eat well, stay healthy. Let me know how your garden is growing.

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


Special thanks to my summer intern, Kiana Ortega, a senior at Bennington College who created four short videos for my website.
Here's a sample link:
About Kitchen Garden Designs video

Let me know what you think! I'll pass along all the praise.


Do you love to cook?


Have your friends ever said: "Your cooking is so good, write a cookbook!"

Well, that happened to me, and now 20 years later I have written five cookbooks. Yet it was not as easy as I thought. My first cookbook started by gathering all my favorite recipes and typing them up. But it was so much more than that. I had to learn the format of a proper recipe, how to write headnotes to tell the story, testing and photographing recipes. The result was a beautiful book that made me proud.

If you have ever wanted to organize your recipes better, create a cookbook for your kids, or even to honor your mother or grandmother with their recipes -- this class is for you. I'll teach you my six steps to success, and coach you along the way. You'll meet other cooks and talk about food, and learn to write about food to describe the taste, the aroma, the sensory memories.

Watch my new introductory video to learn more. Click here. Free introductory class coming soon -- sign up here.


Recipes from my kitchen garden


Chocolate Mint Granita

blueberry jam

Blueberry Lemon Zest Jam

Rose hip marmalade

Wild Rosehip Marmalade


Fennel and Watermelon Salad

It starts on the fourth of July, when I bring up the canning jars from the basement, trim strawberries in the sink, then measure out sugar, berries, and lemon juice. Lemon juice is natural pectin, although it takes twice the time to stir with a wooden spoon until thick. Making jam, pickles, and chutneys may take time away from the garden, yet you won't regret it when you open that jar in the middle of winter. Click on the photos above for the printable recipe.

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