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Please Don't Piss on the Petunias: Stories About Raising Kids, Crops & Critters in the City

by Sandra Knauf , Zora Alexandra Knauf, et al. | Jan 22, 2019

North Street Book Prize Finalist

"If you've ever dreamed of heading to the country and learning from scratch how to start a small farm, to get closer to nature and feel more whole. . . this is a wonderful feel-good collection." —C. Hope Clark, author of the Edisto Island mysteries & the Carolina Slade mysteries

"Sandra Knauf has written a funny and smart book full of stories about creating a fabulous green space in the middle of a city, raising two daughters and giving them a valuable chance to connect with nature." —Simone Martel, author of Exile's Garden

"Reading Knauf's profound memoir I was as enraptured as one of her hypnotized rabbits. Even readers with black thumbs will find much to enjoy in this story of a family that never runs out of love—no matter how many people, chickens, fish, rabbits, and dogs join in . . ."—Jessy Randall, author of Injecting Dreams Into Cowsand A Day in Boyland


Please Don't Piss on the Petunias is a collection of essays and stories by a Colorado gardener with a dream: to give her two daughters the nature-centered childhood she had always longed for. When her husband finds an old house in a quirky part of town, she begins to make her dream a reality.

Engaging, edgy, and often hilarious, Please Don’t Piss on the Petunias follows Sandra Knauf as she turns a weed-filled yard into an urban paradise.

Over the course of several chaotic years, she:

• Muddles through "mistress gardener" training, learning the ABCs of horticulture.

• Raises, with her young daughters, exotic breed bantam chickens named after Greek goddesses

• Goes on her first bee-swarm capture.

• Discovers that a hen in their small flock has undergone a sex change.

• Copes with a series of family dogs: a rambunctious rescue Dalmatian, a destructive black Lab puppy, and a counterfeit teacup Chihuahua with a bad attitude.

• Adds to the animal menagerie: Netherlands dwarf rabbits, fancy backyard goldfish, triops from the age of the dinosaurs, and more.

Through creating a life filled with plants and animals (and plenty of love) Sandra makes a discovery that will resonate with any rebel: Going off the beaten path may be the best way to find out who you really are.