Fun Activity: Project Garden by Stacy Tornio

Author Stacy Tornio grew up digging in the dirt. So when she had children of her own, she knew she wanted to share the joy of gardening with them. Thus was born Project Garden, an engaging book and cornucopia of gardening ideas — from fun, artsy projects, to plants you can grow and harvest.

Tornio will be at the Memphis Botanic Garden on Sunday, April 22nd, from 2 to 4 p.m. to sign copies of her book, and lead a craft activity. The event is free with garden admission, $2 for two projects. 

One thing we like is the author's nod to recycling. Tornio, who works as the editor of Birds and Blooms magazine, is a huge fan of reusing materials. Her wooden tennis rackets are a good example. Woven with nylon cord and brightly colored beads, they're make whimsical garden ornaments.

"I like projects that don't take three or four hours to complete. The projects in my book are cheap and easy, since I use a lot of recycled items. I did the tennis rackets with 2-year-olds stringing beads, and older kids did designs with more complexity."

Each chapter celebrates a month of the year with plant and project ideas, a garden plan, and a recipe for enjoying your bounty. Stacy was raised in a a family of gardeners; in fact, she and her brother had their own stall at the local farmers market growing up in Oklahoma. "That's how we made money during the summer," she says with a laugh. It also happens that some of her family are marvelous cooks, so they happily contributed many of the recipes you'll find featured here.

Among her favorites? "I get rave reviews on the carrot cake, but I'd also recommend trying the cream enchilada dip. It's a good way to get veggies into kids without them knowing it."

Project Garden, which is well conceived and colorful, also has a homey feel. Perhaps that's because some of the pictures were taken of her own two children as well as friends who gathered to complete the projects featured in her book.

"You don't have to be an expert to try something new. Ultimately, gardening should be fun."

Tornio's book is available at MBG's visitor center.

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