Traveling blog tour of Kiss My Aster and book giveaway

It’s no secret I enjoy Amanda’s work. She is my colleague and friend, and we both write columns as Proven Winners Garden Gurus. I’ve been a fan of her blog since she started it. She makes me laugh regularly there and on Facebook where she shows the irreverent side of motherhood, and her husband’s quips about life. In all this funny business, though, there is also a tender place, and I see that too.

Amanda is a Master Gardener and landscape designer in the Chicago area. Kiss My Aster: A Graphic Guide to Creating a Fantastic Yard Totally Tailored to You is
her second book after co-authoring Grocery Gardening, and it might surprise you. It is a graphic guide. In other words, like a graphic novel, it uses Amanda’s drawings to tell the story. It is fun.

However, because I am Amanda’s friend and coworker, I didn’t think I could give an unbiased review so I called in reinforcements, my daughter, Bear.

When I started this blog, Bear was eight. Now, she is now nearly fourteen. She is fun, creative and quirky, and saying so wouldn’t upset her unless her posse was standing nearby. Like me, she loves graphic novels, comic books and online videos like Simon’s Cat. Bear is my most artistic child, and I thought she would appreciate Amanda’s work. So, I guess this is still not unbiased, but who cares?

Kiss My Aster by Amanda Thomsen

She sat down, thumbed through Kiss My Aster and proclaimed it funny and creative. She said, if she were into plants, the colors, pictures and words would “draw her in.” She is not into plants. None of my children are, but she snorted at the book’s title. She said it was “amusing.” This is high praise from someone who is a teen and preoccupied with her own story.

And, that’s the point. Amanda’s book appeals to that generation we’re all trying to reach, the ones who are younger, especially the 18-30 year olds, saturated with technology. The ones who, if we can reach them, may just be getting into plants. Perhaps, they’ve bought their first home and realize there’s more to life than video games or their cell phones. Suddenly, they long a closeness to nature because it’s novel. Amanda quickly shows them how. Although Bear isn’t in that age group yet, getting them, even younger, to sit down with a book and enjoy the graphics and clever words is a very good thing. You might even teach them something while you’re there.

Like I said above, Amanda has a tender place, and she gets this. Bear and I agree that between this book’s cover is the soul of a gardener, and she knows her stuff. If you’d like to read other reviews of Kiss My Aster, check out my friends below.

Note: Storey Publishing sent me a copy of this book, gratis, for review.

Storey is also giving away a copy of the book on their website starting today and running through February 24 with announcement of the winner on February 25. To win, you must comment on Storey’s blog. Please send me some love here too, but you need to comment there to win.


  1. Donna B. says:

    I’m one of those strange children that stuck with my mother while she gardened. Loved gardening since I was… at *least* ten…
    But I also love my video games, comic books, TV, movies, and illustration too! [I just might be an anomaly… :D]
    I do hope Bear gets into it – she’s still young, so there’s time. Hehe!

  2. RobinL says:

    I haven’t been quite sure if I reached my children with the gardening gene. But one year my son tried to grow cucumbers in a pot on his apartment balcony, and it was then that I thought there was a chance. This will be his first summer in his own home, so I have my fingers crossed that a garden will be on his agenda. As for my daughter, she has many houseplants, so when she has her own home, I wonder if she will turn out to be a gardener.

  3. Too cute to have Bear on the tractor with the book.

  4. Donalyn says:

    I’m a huge fan of Amanda and all her doings. I have a list of people getting this book as a gift this year!

  5. Carol says:

    Sending you and Bear some love for your blog and for a creative review of a creative book. All good!

  6. Nancy says:

    “Traveling blog tour” – clever !! If anyone can get the next generation to love gardening, it’s got to be Amanda. She is so funny. Does the book giveaway come with the Red Tractor?

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Yup, our Amanda is a clever one.

  7. Pingback: Kiss My Aster – Book Giveaway — Gossip in the Garden
  8. I have always laughed at Amanda’s work and love my Grocery Gardening book too…I will check out this book

    1. Dee Nash says:

      It’s really cute.

  9. Jennie B says:

    I love hearing about new and entertaining authors/books. thanks.

  10. Suzanne says:

    <3 the girl and the tractor 🙂

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hi Suzanne, thank you so much!

  11. Laura Perkins says:

    I was noting that you say that none of your younglings are into gardening and it made me pause and think… When I was a teenager there was no way I was into gardening…I might have gotten dirty, or sweated… or even worse… messed my hair up!! You knew me as a teenager and I bet you would have never thought that i would adore the dirt as an adult!!… So don’t give up on your brood… you never know what the soil has in store for them!! <3

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Laura, I didn’t really get into gardening until I bought my first home. I did a little indoor stuff, but that was all. However, after I planted that first rose bush and some small begonias, I was completely hooked. Glad to hear there’s hope for my younglings. 🙂

  12. Loree says:

    What a great review! I plan to make it to one of Amanda’s lectures at the NWFGS and look forward to learning more about her book. She’s definitely got the right attitude and I bet her book grabs a whole new generation of gardeners!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hi Loree, yes, I’ll be at her lecture too. I’ll be in Seattle this week and speak on Wednesday myself. Hope to see you there.

      1. Loree says:

        Sadly I won’t be there in time for your lecture Dee bit hopefully I’ll run into you elsewhere. Maybe at the “tweet-up”…

  13. Kim says:

    Looks like a great book!
    btw: I’ve been wanting to ask if you do gardening consults. If you do, please email me. We would love to get some “feet on the ground” advice about all the things we are attempting to grow on our new hobby farm. Love your blog! We used all your vegetable garden posts to get us started on our spring garden this weekend.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hi Kim, I definitely do. I charge $60 an hour, but I’ll give you guidance and writeup of what we’ve discussed. I also give you links and such to suppliers of things you’ll need. Most consults, if the property isn’t too large, take an hour and a half. Thanks for considering me. I’ve sent you an email.

  14. vickie moore says:

    That Bear is a talented girl – reading and tractoring at the same time! Thanks for the tip on “Kiss my Aster” – looks like fun!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Yeah, she’s amazing like that. The tractor pic was her idea.

  15. Gail says:

    It does look and sound like the perfect book for my nieces and nephews who are just now buying homes and thinking about their yards. I know they will appreciate the humor and graphic art. gail

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