Gardening with Kids – Guest Post by Stacy Tornio

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Stacy Tornio, author of the new book PROJECT GARDEN, offers this guest post about gardening with kids. For more great ideas to do with kids outside, look for Stacy’s book on Amazon. 

Or enter to win a copy here.  (

When kids take ownership of their garden, it’s a beautiful thing. I’m a big advocate of letting kids pick out their own plants, giving them their own space or just make decisions about their garden in general. It’s just like cooking—if you let kids make it, they’re more likely to eat it. And it’s the same for gardening. If you involve kids in the early process, they’re more likely to take care of it long-term.

One of my favorite ways to do this is by picking out fun plants. You can do this with family names—my daughter Annabelle loves Annabelle’s hydrangea. And we are planning to plant Jack in the Pulpit this year for my son, Jack. Another way to create a fun garden is to choose themed plants. For instance, an all white garden, a daisy garden or one of our favorites—an animal garden.

My first book, a picture book, is about animal plants ( Cathy’s Animal Garden ). So I wanted to take a minute to give you a few more plants to try with animal names. I hope you have fun with this. Create your own unique space, and let the kids pick them out!

Animal Plants

·      Butterfly weed
·      Catmint
·      Tiger lily
·      Elephant ear
·      Hens and chicks
·      Leopard’s bane
·      Lambs’ ear
·      Dogwood
·      Bee balm
·      Spider flower
·      Cardinal flower
·      Tickseed
·      Monkey grass
·      Snake’s head fritillary
·      Butterfly bush
·      Dragon’s bloom sedum
·      Foxglove

Don’t forget to enter to win a copy of Project Garden today:


Related Post: The Joy of Grandchildren in the Garden

Gardening with Kids – Guest Post by Stacy Tornio

The Joy of Grandchildren in the Garden

“For you, Grandpa”

The joy of watching my grandson explore the garden is beyond explanation. When he was less than two years old, we would walk around the yard together, and by year-end he could identify the different plants. “Day are comeen up! Da Beans!” he would say. 

Raygano… Basil…

It takes me back to when I received my first gardening excitement at his age, following my father around our organic garden in Marin County. We moved every year or two until I was twelve, and I could swear he moved the whole garden with us, because there it would be again, at the new place!

My dad’s garden in 2010

My father is still gardening and sells his delicious produce at the Mt. Shasta Farmer’s Market. 

When he comes to visit us in San Diego, we know we are going to get something! Last week, it was pears from his tree & fresh baked sourdough bread. Before that, freezer loganberry jam. Always something new, organic, and delicious.

The necessity of children learning their connection to the dirt at an early age cannot be overemphasized! It will last a lifetime and will span generations of earth lovers! 

Here are a few more of my favorite pictures of my Grandson Micah in our garden:

Our first corn harvest. Micah likes his sweet corn raw.

Take THAT Farmville!

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The Joy of Grandchildren in the Garden