In The Garden With : Kiss my Aster

You all probably already know Amanda Thomsen of Kiss my Aster, but just in case, I will re-introduce you to my friend.   Here are some fun things that she had to say for herself….

  • I wish I had the time to make my own clothing
  • I got engaged on Ambush Makeover
  • I just bought 10 bottles of vintage fish emulsion to display in my china cabinet
  • I’m an avid thrifter, junker. alley picker and garage sale-r. Nothing in my house cost more than my $80 IKEA sideboard.

Amanda thomsen

But I want to add one more thing….she has the coolest tattoo I have ever seen…I have to confess tattoo envy. Basically, I like to think I would get one, but I simply don’t have the nerve. Yeah, I say maybe I will get a tattoo (like for my 40th birthday or something) but bottom line: I am all talk. I won’t probably do it….but if I did, it would be behind my ear (where I am sure it would hurt like hell) but would never be as awesome as a pair of flaming secateurs.

My Favorite things: Amanda Thomsen

  • I love love LOVE my Felco pruners. I’ve got a few pairs of #2s and a pair of #11s that could take a finger off. I’m cheap, don’t like to pay for anything but Felcos are one of those things that are totally worth the higher price tag.

  • I’m cheap, retro and recycle-y. I always garden using a rag-tag collection of milk crates and old plastic saucer sleds, all picked up from alleys and junk yards. I sit on the milk crates to weed, or use them to sift compost- the sleds are great for keeping plants in the “holding pattern” moist until I can plant them, or for hauling stuff to and from the compost pile.
  • When it comes to garden centers, I like a lot of character. Don’t give me an over sanitized super-organized experience. I want to hunt, discover and possibly be grateful that I’ve had a tetanus shot.

  • I’m always re energized, inspired and completely fired up by the Chicago Botanic Garden. It’s just a few minutes away from my house and I am a somewhat regular volunteer in their English Walled Garden. Seeing something there in a grand scale can still inspire me in my teaspoon-sized garden.

What do you do to find inspiration?

  • I get inspiration for everything. Cliche, right?. I’ve always been super creative so it’s not hard to get my wheels spinning. All it takes is a walk around the neighborhood, a scrap of vintage sari, an old movie or, more logically, a garden photo website ( I love endlessly flipping through the pages of Garden Picture Library, for me it’s like mediation or staring at a fish tank. I can literally feel my biofeedback tones dropping!) I have a zillion ideas and I just bide my time until it’s the right time to present them. I’m hampered greatly by time and money… Isn’t everyone?
  • I also get ideas from Studio G, of course, For example, this languishing trial of a living wall made out of landscaping crates. I had these awful Hostas to get rid of and I thought this would be a fabulous way to torture them to death. If I wanted to go ahead with the whole wall, I’d absolutely insert a drip system throughout the levels. As you can see, watering has been an “issue”.

milk crate garden

Best Garden or Design Advice Ever (Given or Received)?

  • The best advice I can give is to do things in bite-sized pieces. You can do it all, by yourself… if you do it in teensy bits and take your time and do it right. Um, it’s like- the opposite of every landscaping show on TV right now where a team of yard surgeons change everything but the color of the sky in like, 3 hours.

  • The best advice I ever got I will admit to you begrudgingly. I had this boss a long time ago that was a bit of a… um, he was no fun. Once he said to me “You know, gardens don’t always have to go from low in the front to high in the back, they can be switched up a little”. I was so shocked that he was saying such an obvious and dumb thing to me… and he said it with such an “you’re an idiot!” tone… but he was totally right.

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.
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1 Comment

  1. Delphine on August 5, 2010 at 4:22 am

    Waooo… very funny interview ! i like her blog since a long time.

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