Alright, letâ€™s get this out of the wayâ€¦this is a biased review. I thought Amanda Thomsen was a brilliant and bizarrely wonderful designer before I ever read this book. In addition, I like funny gardening booksâ€¦of which there is exactly one. This one. If you already agree with me, skip to the last paragraph. If not, continue onâ€¦
Kiss My Asterâ€™s Guide is a choose-your-own-ending landscaping book with enough meat to it that those who fancy ourselves to be â€śadvancedâ€ť will learn a thing or two. Thomsen imbues it with her camp and off-kilter sense of humour, leading to a book that is one partÂ Rocky Horror Picture Show, one part landscaping and one part Highlights. The only thing that would improve on such a mixture would be the addition of a â€śscratch and sniffâ€ť feature.
In addition to the super-flexible reading format, Thomsen adds information to help the reader decide whether or not to hire a contractor to complete a task. This is particularly helpful for those who consider themselves amateur arborists or those of us who are chronically lazy. While waiting for said contractor to arrive, I suggest giving the games in the middle of the book a go: thereâ€™s Landscape Bingo, a scavenger hunt, and the totally engrossing Word Find. Oh, and if you are looking for an easy â€śAâ€ť, be sure to take the Sustainability Quiz.
Though my favorite parts of the book are the humorous illustrations and unique format, I love that it also fully embraces the quirkiness of the authorâ€™s aesthetic. Thomsen hasnâ€™t written a highbrow book with complicated, geometry-laden designs.
The plant materials and layouts are accessible and easy to accomplish. What she has done is make it all sound so freaking fun that I canâ€™t imagine why I havenâ€™t seen gardening this way before now. And Iâ€™ve been gardening for a long time. But I suspect that is her intentâ€¦to pull in an old hand like me, as well as ensnare a new generation of would-be gardeners.
I am in love with this book. Amanda Thomsen is the first brave soul to step outside of the old school garden writing and publishing model. Sheâ€™s challenged the status quo like the punk rock gardener that she is (Iâ€™d love to work in a Sid Vicious metaphor here, but my brain is tired) and sheâ€™s done it in such a way that itâ€™s easy to join her in her garden revolution.