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Inside the Aster's Studio: Andrew Keys

I don't even have to introduce Andrew Keys, do I?

Bad to the phloem!

If you don't already know, Andrew is the GENIUS behind RadioGarden here at He's also the smart alec behind and is a contributor for Garden Designers' Round Table. Busy guy!

You know you want to know a little more about this planty dude... So here goes!

What is your favorite horticulture-related word?

That's a tough one. Definitely a piece of Latin plant name. I like the nova/e- words, like "noveboracensis" and "novae-angliae," as in Vernonia noveboracensis and Symphyotrichum novae-angliae. Right now my favorite Latin name altogether is Trochodendron aralioides.

What is your least favorite horticulture-related word?

Why are there so many Latin plant names that sound like diseases? Like Benthamidia. Supposedly the new name for American Cornus.

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally (in the great outdoors)?

I would almost say plants, but I think the thing that drives me most is terroir, or sense of place, though what I'm most interested in is the relationship between plants and terroir.

What turns you off?

Mulch volcanoes, red mulch, the sight of sprinklers watering a lawn (especially when it's raining), and tree abuse by utility companies.

What is your favorite horty curse word?

I usually just go with the standard curse words. Since Kiss My Aster is a family blog now, we'll just say @#*&$.

What outdoor sound or noise do you love?

Woodpeckers, except when they decide to hammer on the side of my house.

What outdoor sound or noise do you hate?

Leafblowers, although I do have one myself. It's just never a good time when your neighbor decides to run his/her leafblower, you know? There should be a designated leafblower hour once a week so we could all get our leafblowing out of the way and give ourselves a break otherwise. Also, catbirds. Can't they just pick a song and learn to sing it well?

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Secret agent.

What profession would you not like to do?

Accountant. Sorry, accountants! It's not you, it's me. Numbers are my kryptonite.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say about your garden when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

I don't think I'll care. I'll be dead.

This is Andrew, isn't he a badass?

This is Andrew, isn't he a badass?