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Kiss My Aster: A Graphic Guide to Creating a Fantastic Yard Totally Tailored to You Paperback – December 18, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Entertaining and vibrant, Kiss My Aster goes beyond horticultural information and ideas and stirs creativity. Much of the appeal of Thomsen’s book are the delightful color drawings that recall the magic that gardens held for us as children. By pairing the illustrations with handwritten-style fonts, a synergy is engendered that perfectly complements the witty text’s blend of practical tips (locate underground cables and lines) and encouragement: approach landscaping as a form of self-expression and dream big. Word games and scavenger hunts are just part of the whimsical interactivity in this graphic presentation, where how-to meets choose-your-own-adventure presentation. Thomsen’s many options help simplify the decision making involved in planning, planting, and, if desired, hiring a pro. She urges readers to grow their own food, listing funny and sensible reasons; for example, Garlic and garlic chives repel vampires. She devotes detailed sections to worms (Eat my trash), composting (Compostest is the mostest), and vines (antisocial climbers), along with providing essentials on soil, trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials, and more. For novice gardeners who will be inspired by visions of garden parties with elephants, balloons, and unicorns. --Whitney Scott

Review

Garden blogger and landscape designer Thomsen (Grocery Gardening)offers beginning gardening advice in a totally fresh way: This is a graphic guide aimed at newbie gardeners who may have cashed in their hipster chips for homeownership but haven't changed their style. The gardening basics – design, hardscape, soil, water, plant selection, care -- are covered with panache. Thomsen's voice has a sassy edge ("Getting bored with all this? Why not make a chore cootie catcher?", a real object for which there are instructions), and the full-color graphics by Am I Collective simply steal the show. The book is fittingly idiosyncratic, which will profoundly challenge any readers who prefer linear thinking, chapters that treat one subject at a time, and tables of contents that help a reader find something quickly. But the book is irresistibly flip-through and a thing of beauty that will help a new school of gardeners who don't want to do it granny's way. Simple but revolutionary, it's an amusing new way to offer Gardening 101.



Amanda Thomsen’s new book, Kiss My Aster: A Graphic Guide to Creating a Fantastic Yard Totally Tailored to You (Storey Publishing, January 2013) shakes up traditional garden book publishing. Steeped in rock and roll irreverence and sound horticultural knowledge, Amanda takes us on a journey that is practical, active, and full of energy.

(Niki Jabbour, author of The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener)

A garden book for the age of graphic novels, in which wiseacre wordplay and cartoony illustrations make basic knowledge about plants and garden planning accessible to all. Behind it all is a landscaper and blogger who truly knows her stuff.

(Free Press)

Entertaining and vibrant, Kiss My Aster goes beyond horticultural information and ideas and stirs creativity… By pairing the illustrations with handwritten-style fonts, a synergy in engendered that perfectly complements the witty text’s blend of practical tips and encouragement.

(Publishers Weekly)

We all know trying to design your garden and keep your sanity can be a challenge. Thankfully there are experts full of comical gardening advice such as Amanda Thomsen who can successfully walk you through the steps to create a landscape tailored to your needs, wants, and style.

(Chicago Tribune)

Zany at times, Kiss My Aster is founded on sensible advice delivered in a way that makes the reader laugh, or at least snicker, with every page tuning.



Her iconoclastic, and drenchingly colorful, new book, "Kiss My Aster", is her manifesto, her plea and promise that gardening should be one grand adventure. And, yes, you can still wow the neighbors."

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC (December 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603429867
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603429863
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.5 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #332,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If Dorothy Parker had written a beginners' guide to gardening, this would be it. Ms. Thomsen has a wry, sly wit. She also knows lots about gardening -- not just the flowers end, but the big stuff end as well.

This is an ideal book for the beginning gardener who does not want to read a boring gardening book. I am an advanced gardener, having owned a variety of homes over 30 years. And having made tons of basic mistakes over 30 years. This book aims to prevent those mistakes, such as planting trees too close to houses, not going with an overall plan, etc. (I bought the book because I follow Ms. Thomsen's humorous "Kiss My Aster" page on Facebook.) Even though I know lots about gardening, I still learned things from the book. She also got me to think more about the purpose of gardening. It's important to ask what you want to accomplish with a given space before you start (something I've always been bad at doing.) Besides looking nice, do you want to impress? Or is this mainly for privacy? I figure if I had had this book 30 years ago I would have saved a few thousand dollars and many hours of digging up mistakes.

The book is laid out in steps, so you can skip ahead if you know the basic basics. However, I didn't want to skip ahead at all because there is always some humor lurking somewhere on a page. And that is the key to this book, because you will read it end to end. The alternative is to buy a boring encyclopedia of gardening with lots of glossy pictures that you will never read, or will consult after it's too late. "Hey, honey, I think I know why our row of boxwoods died, and it's spelled d-o-g-p-e-e." Fitting with the overall theme, instead of glossy pictures, the book has cartoon-like drawings.

If I were pairing this book with another, it would be S.J. Perelman's Acres and Pains, which takes one through the hell of owning a country house.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was recommended to me by a friend. I have zero knowledge of gardening but I am wanting to start. The way this book is laid out is informative and entertaining and I love it. My 8 and 12-year-olds love it and are learning with me. The information is easily accessible and the format makes learning and reading enjoyable.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There's a reason why Gen X and Y are not that interested in gardening. It's because most gardening books, shows and radio are for the over fifty crowd. Now, don't get excited, I am fast approaching fifty, and there's nothing wrong with liking more traditional content.
BUT, younger folks find it stuffy, boring and definitely not funny.
Amanda Thomsen and her publisher decided to step outside the box and write an innovative, fun to read design book that is helpful for newbie gardeners...and for old hands who want a fresh perspective.
To say that I love this book would be an understatement. Do yourself a favor and read it. It's like Highlights for adults!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a fun book for someone just getting interested in gardening, yard design, general landscaping. It's a lightweight entertaining quick read. Very unique...especially good for the beginner...not enough info for even the casual gardener.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this. It has a lot of good information in it, but the real prize is the graphic style in which it is written. I showed this to some of the members of my garden club, & they all said they were going to buy it.
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Format: Paperback
I picked this book up on a whim at the library and now I am going to purchase a copy for myself! What a great book for a beginning gardener like me. Totally funny yet very informative (i.e., suggestions on how to create shade in your yard include building a pergola or planting a tree and waiting 50 years. So funny!). I have purchased other "hip" gardening books that are good but the info just never sticks in my brain no matter how hard I try. This fun book offers load of information and lots of cross references to more helpful tips. This is a great book to add to your library or to give as a gift.
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This was a cute, funny, informative book. I read it all the way through, and now I pick it up to reference things about plants and the rest. I lent it to my daughter in law and she liked it (but I took it back because I liked it too much) I should buy her a book of her own.
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Format: Paperback
I found this gardening book to be a joy, both to read and to "imagine with." Equal parts sass and inspiration, paired with genuinely helpful advice all along the way...and yet, never once did the tone get annoying? I don't know how she did it...but she did. Loved this book!
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