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Book Review: Kiss My Aster

Kiss My Aster: A Graphic Guide to Creating a Fantastic Yard Totally Tailored to You
by Amanda Thomsen

Kiss My Aster

160 pages
Storey Publishing, 2012
List price: $16.95

Your life isn’t complete until you’ve met Amanda Thomsen. She’s one of a kind and I triple dog dare you to figure her out or keep up with her. This is actually part of her charm and besides wanting to take her home with you, she’s a gardener’s best friend, to boot.

She’s pretty busy as a landscape designer, blogger, author, as well as being a wife and mother to a darling daughter who shows all signs of being a chip off her mommy’s block (watch out, world!), but she recently made time to write one of the best books I’ve seen on what to do with your yard. And then some.

Thomsen has long been the author of the popular blog, Kiss My Aster, an irreverent (and I mean this in a good way) look at the world of horticulture. Her book goes by the same name: Kiss My Aster: A Graphic Guide to Creating a Fantastic Yard Totally Tailored to You.

This is not your ordinary gardening book, no sirree. You can see this just by thumbing through it. The graphics are beyond amazing and invite you to crawl right in and start mining for magic that you can perform in your own yard, your way. Don't worry if you have no prior experience with gardening; Amanda's got you covered, and She. Knows. Her. Stuff.

It can be a bit overwhelming, but only if you try to take it in all at once. Thomsen wrote it in the manner of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books she enjoyed as a child. That’s brilliant, really. It makes the book an invaluable and timeless resource for creating the yard of your dreams, and you’ll have a whole lot of fun doing it. I mean, who else calls shrubs “the khaki pants of the landscape,” or when discussing lighting warns you not to jar up lightning bugs?

I don’t know when I’ve had this much fun reading a gardening book. It’s opinionated, but I would expect nothing less from Amanda, and 99% of the time, I think she’s spot on. I’ve always said I’m not a garden designer, but Amanda Thomsen makes me believe I can be one. With her coaching me via this gem of a book, my yard will never be the same. Get it and yours won’t be either.

Amanda Thomsen, a Master Gardener and landscape designer, has been in the field for more than ten years. She is the coauthor of Grocery Gardening and writes the blog Kiss My Aster. She lives in the Chicago area.

Read more garden book reviews.
Read Kylee Baumle’s blog, Our Little Acre.