Amanda Thomsen, Highwood, IL, US

Big, loud and fun- Amanda Thomsen landscapes by day and blogs at night. Her blog, Kiss My Aster, has alienated/enraptured dozens for at least 6 years.
She is the less popular half of the podcasting team, Good Enough Gardening, which makes her feel like the "Roy" of of Siegfried and Roy, but without the mauling. She lives in Chicago and does not EVER put ketchup on hot dogs.

Gender: Female

Birthday: 02/13/1974

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Late Summer Sprawl: Tomatoes and Tomatillos

It's been HOT out there. My tomatoes are getting AGGRESSIVE.

Orange Is The New Green

We've got a ripe pumpkin already, it's only August. Now what?

The Summer Cold

I'm home, sick and in bed. Not gardening.

Which Would You Choose? Kitchen Compost Collectors

I woke up this morning, walked into the kitchen and all of a sudden the kitchen scrap collection method we've been using for years just didn't cut the mustard greens anymore...

I have a Crack and Weed Problem

You see these weed-busting theories flying around the 'net, especially on Pinterest, and I wanted to test for myself what works and what's a stupid waste of time...

The Break Up

Go away. You weren't supposed to BE here. We broke up last fall... (View photos first!)

Battle of the Creeps


Swearing for Gardeners: Holy @#$#%#!

Hey, I'm ALL for trees. And I'm all for enthusiastically trying to reproduce oneself all over the place. Wait. Whaaa?

Chic Garden Stuff (Totally Disappointment Free!): The Chicago Botanic Garden's Antique and Garden Fair

I've seen a lot of stuff lately and most of it has bummed me out. This left me buzzzzzzzzzing!

Push Th' Little Daisies

While I'm not totally anti-lawn, I do think you can have too much lawn.... And I do.

The Boring Post About Houseplants

Every garden blogger has to do a post about their houseplants at least once a year. Today's the day.

Oooh Afternoon Delight!

It's the perfect time of year to get away to a good greenhouse and buy yourself some plants and breathe in some warm and steamy plant-filled air. Restorative, really.

I Would If I Could, But I Can't

I have the time, the itch- But not the weather...

The Case of the Rapidly Diminishing Hedge Apples

They were there, then they weren't.... Whodunit?

Winter Containers: The Good, But Possibly Iffy (Part 2)

Now, these may not all be my personal taste, but they are all done well and you can tell that it is the homeowners' taste, for reals.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: An Encyclopedia of Outdoor Winter Decor (Part 1: The Train Wrecks)

There just isn't enough info out there on how-to (or how not to) do your winter pots, beds and garlands. Here is all you need to know, in 3 (maybe 4) parts...

Asterzilla vs. Mumthra

Clearly, I'm an aster person. I wouldn't have named my blog (and most of my life) Kiss My Aster if I wasn't in love with them. But I wasn't always...

Hey Girl- The Autumn Edition

Gardener Gosling is feelin' the season and wants to watch It's the Great Pumpkin,Charlie Brown with you after a fun-filled day of leaf raking.

How to Take Better Garden Photos (Aster Style!)

I'm a lousy photographer- especially when it comes to garden shots. But I found something over the weekend that makes my photos WAY more interesting to look at....

Lava Rockin'

My midcentury modern ranch is literally encircled in red lava rock. It's laying on top of an ineffective layer of clear plastic. We are in the process of raking it up and doing.... something with it. How does one get rid of this much red lava rock?

That's A Lot Of Pot

I lucked into a giant pot at zero cost. What should I put in it?

How Hot Is It?

How hot is it? I'll tell ya...

The Lemon Bar

A crazy experience at the garden center. It could only happen to me!

I Got 99 Problems But A Birch Ain't One

Paper birch trees aren't super successful here, it's too dang hot. Why do they die and what do you do with them when they are dead, you may ask...

My Bad Romance With A Bad, Bad Plant

I should know better. In fact, I do.

National Call-Out-Sick-From-Work-To-Stay-Home-And-Pull-Garlic-Mustard-Before-It-Goes-To-Seed Day

This Friday is National Call-Out-Sick-From-Work-To-Stay-Home-And-Pull-Garlic-Mustard-Before-It-Goes-To-Seed Day. So start thinking up your excuses now people, because those things are about to BLOW.

The Taming of the Yew

Everyone I talk to is all "Ew, I HATE those" when I talk about Yews. But I think they have worth-- But some are not sure it's worth this particular effort...

First Contact

I'm trying to raise a kid that loves being outside and in the dirt as much as I do...

Yet Another Reason to Love Cactii

I'm moving today, wrapping everything up, including a my plants. The roses were a pain to move, as are the giant soil-filled containers... but you know what's a piece of cake to move?

An Adult Love Letter to Adult Ivy

Are you familiar with Adult Ivy? It's more mature and sophisticated, naturally. Here's a slightly naughty love letter that explains its virtues....

Terrariums Gone Wrong

I had this great idea to make terrariums out of stuff I'm long on, mainly baby food jars, but somewhere it went horribly wrong.

Hey Girl...

A few months ago, I noticed this Ryan Gosling meme going around where in each one he says the perfect thing to his fictitious lady love. And I was thinking that gardening just doesn't get enough memes. Or any memes. So I made up a mess of these...

In the Nick of Time: Winter Pot!

I haven't been home in actual daylight hours to make the pot in front of my house until now. So here it is!

A Ticking Pine Bomb*

It's the middle of the night. I've just been awakened by a noise, it isn't a loud noise but... I can tell that something isn't right. I get out of bed to check the house- Everything seems in place until... It's our super-dead Christmas tree AUDIBLY losing needles.

This Birdbath May Be The End Of My Marriage

Things have come to a pretty pass, our romance is growing flat. For you like this and the other, while I go for this hot pink squirrel bird bath.

Kiss My Aster's Gifts for Gardeners Guide 2011

I sometimes get asked for my suggestions for gifts for gardeners and I mean, it’s winter, everything is dead. It’s hard to think about something that makes me even more sad about not being out in the dirt that I now have to stare at this gift for another 4 months and not put it to good use. Just give me a box of Frango Mints, completely not garden related but always appropriate, and let’s get on with it already.

All Dead vs. Slightly Alive

As gardeners, we have all experienced plants coming back from mostly dead-- Then there are plants that are all dead that can be brought back, unnaturally.

I guess this makes me an Old Wife

For as long as I can remember, I've been told that climbing vines, like Boston Ivy and Virginia Creeper, didn't really damage masonry... Well...

Mano Y Mano

You, fine gardenin' lady, can have it all. The garden AND the perfect 10...

A Gardener's Guide to Swearing

There's a word out there that is purely horticultural but its meaning is shocking and awful enough to upset me more than any swear word...

Plant Fever Cured By Heart Attack

From the second I saw it, I just knew I was going to do something stupid to get it...

How Easy Is It To Grow Tomatoes? Easy As Number 2!

You start your tomato seedlings every spring with great care, coaxing them and coddling them. Well as it turns out, you're planting tomatoes more often than you think- just not in your backyard. And it all starts with a flush...

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto

Is there a garden chore you dislike enough that you would get a robot to do it for you? Or perhaps having a GardenTron 2000 would take the fun out of gardening. Is your garden so great because its...

Recent comments

Re: I Would If I Could, But I Can't

Thank you @Susan749!

Re: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: An Encyclopedia of Outdoor Winter Decor (Part 1: The Train Wrecks)

@susan749 I know it's not easy. But I hope to give some super duper helpful hints in the very near future XOXO!

Re: The Lemon Bar

Thanks, Joan!

Re: National Call-Out-Sick-From-Work-To-Stay-Home-And-Pull-Garlic-Mustard-Before-It-Goes-To-Seed Day

Ruth! It IS about convincing the neighbors, isn't it?!

Susan: It's great to hear that you DO see a difference where you've been working the hardest. I needed to hear that!

Re: Kiss My Aster's Gifts for Gardeners Guide 2011

The slugs are well worth the dough. And they come in other colors, too!

Re: This Birdbath May Be The End Of My Marriage

I thought it was a good one. But I suck at painting birdbaths, so....

Re: A Gardener's Guide to Swearing

@gardensweep- you CAN eat them.... but for juglone's sake, don't compost the hulls. Have them encased in cement or something!

Re: Plant Fever Cured By Heart Attack

And usually I think that's nuts but this time it just got me riled up. Are you going to get that peony?
I don't have to have the newest and rarest... But I had to have this Dianthus!