She's unassuming. She's loud. She's somewhat inappropriate -- that is, if you were thinking you were going to get gardening advice from your grandma. She describes herself as a grade below Martha Stewart and uses common sense to distill her gardening woes.
Her name is Amanda Thomsen and she is one of the most popular garden bloggers of our generation. Her blog is "Kiss My Aster" -- an eyebrow-raising name from a woman loved by gardeners young and old. She writes for a popular trade journal "Greenhouse Grower" and is highlighted in "Fine Gardening." Her mission, according to the editors, is to "youngify" the content.
This year, she brings her garden philosophies and easy-to-apply gardening hacks to the 14th Annual Home, Lawn and Garden Day show hosted by the McLean County Master Gardeners. Her keynote presentation is "150 ways to create a fantastic yard totally tailored to you." Attendees will leave inspired and ready to take on the gardening season.
Thomsen has gained popularity with her laid-back approach to writing the way she would talk to her best friend. She doesn't pretend to have the perfect garden and has no intention to do so. She describes gardening as a personal expression and balks at the idea of the pristine garden. She embraces the garden tasks as a form of anger management and the need to pass on the love of Mother Nature to her 4-year-old daughter.
Growing up in a family that idealized Jim Crockett's Victory Garden ideals, she became a pioneering garden blogger, first writing about her experiences as a garden center employee. She does not boast accolades but only describes it as "hot fudge" on top of a need to write about all things gardening. Her favorite plants are black lace elderberry and she is obsessed with dahlias. Her best gardening hack is to exchange the wheel barrow for a large versatile tarp.
The 14th Annual McLean County Master Gardener Home, Lawn and Garden Day will be at Central Catholic High School in Bloomington on March 5. It is an all-day gardening extravaganza in which to get inspired, visit local vendors and interact with other gardeners at all levels. Attendees will get to attend the keynote session with Thomsen; the introduction of new and exciting plants by Shane Cultra; three other breakout sessions; a mini session with the Master Gardeners; and breakfast and lunch. Registration is open until Feb. 26 and classes fill fast. Go to web.extension.illinois.edu/lmw for more details.