Like many gardeners, Ellen Wells' love for plants started with her family. She really had no choice. Both her parents and grandparents were practicing farmers. Looking back, she credits her grandfather for her flower gardening genes, her father for her vegetable gardening genes and her mother for her hands-on gardening skills.
Ellen grew up on a 300 acre farm near Riverhead, Long Island, New York. It is the oldest continuously run farm in the state of New York. In fact, it goes back eleven generations! Ellen grew up with cows, pigs, some ducks and over 3000 chickens. Her mother even sold fresh brown eggs from their kitchen!
"My Brother Todd is trying his best to keep it going," Ellen told us. "He has a son who is just about ready to go to college who will study agriculture and come back to the family farm.
Ellen realized that she wanted to study plants in some way at an early age. "I always knew I was going to major in biology and I nailed it down to plant science in high school." That's exactly what she did. At Smith College she majored in plant biology and minored in history. Ellen's initial thought was to become a professor focused on the history of plants. Plans change, however, and two years out of school she made the decision to go back and get her Master's from Cornell in horticultural ecology. Her connection to Cornell continues as Ellen returned to campus as a judge for their container gardening contest in July 2008!
In 1998 Ellen became a field editor for Greenhouse Grower magazine. She corrected articles to make sure that everything was botanically and scientifically correct using her expansive gardening knowledge. She traveled to trade shows and grower facilities in Michigan, Illinois and Florida. Ellen also reviewed the Pack Trials in California where plant breeders present newly developed plant varieties.
Currently Ellen is "editor at large" for Green Profit magazine. That's a Ball Publishing magazine for people who own and run garden centers. She regularly talks to plant breeders, greenhouse owners and researchers who are studying plant diseases and developing new plant varieties. Ellen also does consumer writing for the Boston Globe Style section and Design New England magazine.
In addition to writing and editing, Ellen gives gardening lectures and demonstrations whenever she can fit them into her busy schedule. She has even done a couple of short educational videos for the local cable news network.
At present, Ellen resides in Boston, MA, with her two cats, Sally and Cleo.