For those of you looking for a totally different kind of gardening book – one that’s fun to use and that will definitely make you laugh out loud, all the while giving you down-to-earth practical advice then this book is for you. Seriously – Amanda is awesome.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Amanda Thomsen (aka: Kiss My Aster) you should to do a little homework first. First, rush on over to her website here, to 1) see her flaming pair of Felco pruners tattoo, and 2) read all about her latest thrift store finds and how she’ll be using them (both in her home and in her garden). Then, head on over to her super funny blog at Fine Gardening, to read even more about her specific tips and unique thoughts about gardening.
After your appetite is now thoroughly whetted (is that a word?) you’re ready to read her book, Kiss My Aster – a Graphic Guide to Creating a Fantastic Yard Totally Tailored to You.
Yes, it’s truly a graphic guide (like the ones from the 80’s) meaning you find what area interests you, then refer to the pages in the bubble. Then you go to those pages, find what you need, then you find the new pertinent information to whatever topic you’re reading about and go to those pages referred to in the bubble, and so on and so on. But just because this is a super efficient (and fun) way to read about exactly what it is you’re interested in, you’ll probably read all the pages anyway because it’s that much fun.
And she’ll tell you like it is, too. No sugar coating the facts. You think you want a boxwood hedge? Be forewarned….or as she sarcastically writes ‘Way to start out easy, Chief’ and then proceeds to tell you why it might not be the best choice for you. Her writing style is one that everyone can relate to (unless you’re a super snooty gardner hoping to get your ‘snob on’ with another designer – then you’d probably hate this book). But even though she’s casual, trust me – she knows what she’s doing and her advice is spot on. She’s encouraging, informative and funny and you’ll most likely end up saying ‘Oh yeah – I can definitely do this!’
But don’t worry, she’ll be the first to tell you if you can’t can’t do it yourself. As another fellow designer (who also passionately believes in encouraging others to do things themselves) I really appreciate her honesty. For example, while she does encourage you to tackle your own garden design, she’s also there to tell you to it’s okay if you can’t (or shouldn’t) do it.
‘Now is probably a good time to say this. There’s a chance that you can’t do it yourself. I know I just said you could, but I don’t want to candy-coat things. I don’t know you. Design is one of those things, well, either you have it or you don’t. Can you dress yourself? Do you own decorative pillows? Well, those are steps in the right direction…’
And then she goes on to tell you how to go about hiring someone; what to look for, what to run from (white pants and high heels), and the difference between a garden coach, garden designer and a landscape architect. Seriously, folks, you will get so much out of this book – especially if you’re new to gardening or garden design. And bring your crayons, because she’s even included a few Word Find puzzles, Color-Me Gnomes, and Landscaping Mad Libs.
Ready to have some fun with your garden this year? Here’s how you can win your own copy. Just head on over to her publisher’s website (Storey Publishing) and leave a comment on their site. Not here, this time, but on their site. They’ll choose a winner on Monday, March 25th. It’s that easy! And if you’d like to read a bit more about this book, head on over to these sites to read their own reviews and perspectives on this most entertaining book.
Best of luck everyone!