Allan Becker


Reviewer Allan Becker: Allan has been designing and planting flower gardens, since he was a teenager in the 1960's. Now retired from the soft goods industry, where he held several positions in design, product development, and marketing, he has turned his passion for gardening into a second career, as a garden designer for private clients in Montreal, Canada.


In spring and summer, he provides his assistants, most college students, who transform his designs into flower gardens. In winter, he reviews books on garden-related topics for Bookpleasures.com and writes a Gardening Blog.

Allan earned a B.A. from McGill University, followed by two years of studies in design at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia). He lives in the Montreal suburb of Cote St. Luc, Quebec with his wife and travels regularly to Toronto and Boston to visit his children and grandchildren.




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 Articles by this Author

Authors: Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury

Publisher: Timber Press

ISBN: 978-0-88192-953-9

We live in historic times, horticultural, that is. The most forward-looking and inspiring garden designer of the 21st century is Piet Oudolf. Based in the Netherlands but working world wide, he is responsible for a historic shift in the appearance of contemporary landscapes. His work is both riveting and controversial and pushes the boundaries of modernity in the garden.


Authors: Stephanie Cohen and Jennifer Benner

Publisher: Timber Press

ISBN-13:978-0-88192-951-5


Author: Brian Capon
Publisher: Timber Press
ISBN: 978-1-60469-095-8

This book was born in the classroom. It began as a general botany course for non-science majors who were compelled to take a science course. Its success in reaching out to students inspired the transformation of the author’s lecture notes into a book


Author: Sydney Eddison
Publisher: Timber Press
ISBN: 978-1-60469-065-1

It creeps up slowly to surprise when it is least expected. It is a gardener’s worst nightmare. No, it is not an invasive weed. It is old age


Author:Rob Sproule
Publisher: Lone Pine Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-55105-841-2

Americans need this book, too!


Author: Adrian Bloom
Publisher: Timber Press
ISBN: 978-0-88192-931-7

At last, a book for gardeners who are overwhelmed by the huge size of iconic estates, when they study them for design inspiration


Author: Ruth Kassinger
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 978-0-06-154774-4


Author: Scott Calhoun
Storey Publishing
ISBN:  978-1-60342-077-8

For those that still believe that landscapes need to be designed in the antique manner of the English, this publication will be a revelation when they see how the Revolution of 1776 has finally trickled down tothe gardens of North America



Author: Helena Attlee
Photographer: Alex Ramsay
Publisher: Frances Lincoln
ISBN 978-0-7112-2971-6

Japanese gardens belong to a tradition of artistic landscaping that began over a thousand years ago. Readers with only a vague idea about this subject will be surprised by the mesmerizing images that await them; the serene gardens visited in this publication are both spiritual and beautiful beyond words


Authors:Tom Fischer and Clive Nichols
Publisher: Timber Press
ISBN-13:978-1-60469-084-2

If I were hosting dinner, I prefer that a guest bring this book rather than a box of chocolates. If I were a bedridden gardener, I hope someone would send me this attractive publication to cheer me up. When Tom Fischer first sat down to write this book, I’ll bet he never imagined he would be creating the ultimate hospitality gift

 


Author: Isabelle Glorieux-Desouche
Publisher: Frances Lincoln
ISBN: 978-0-7112-3091-0

The photographs in this publication, mostly culled from museum collections, are superb visual renderings of the artwork they represent. It is hard to imagine that any visitor could get any closer to see them better. The author’s discussion of each piece is all encompassing, scholarly, and easy to understand


Author: Gisela Keil
Photography: Jurgen Becker
Publisher: F&W Publications
ISBN: 1-55870-733-6

This is a gem of a book

Author: Linda Chalker-Scott
Publisher: University of Washington Press
ISBN: 978-0-295-99001-9

I urge the serious gardener to read The Informed Gardener Blooms Again, and its companion The Informed Gardener. At best, we will become better-informed gardeners. At least, we will save a few hundred dollars a season, otherwise spent on nutrients that our gardens do not need.


Author: John Greenlee
Photographs by Saxon Holt.
Publisher: Timber Press
ISBN-13::978-0-88192-871-6

The American Meadow Garden is a bold step in re-defining our outdoor environment.


Author: Tony Lord
Publishers: Frances Lincoln
ISBN-10: 0711214328:  ISBN-13: 978-0711214323

A review of this book, so many years after I first studied it, was prompted when I read about the frustrations of a fellow gardener who was having difficultly finding proper guidance in creating a flowerbed



Author:  Tim Newbury
Publisher: Cassell Illustrated
ISBN: -13: 978 1841881133  ISBN -10: 1 84188 113 9

This is an impressive publication- a beautifully illustrated manual for the garden designer



Author: Tracy Disabato-Aust
Publisher:Timber Press
ISBN 13:978-0-88192-950-8

Easy care plants that require little or no maintenance are favorites of mine

Author: Stephanie Cohen and Nancy J. Ondra
Publisher: Storey Publishing
ISBN: 13978-1-58017-532-2

 There is an interesting rhythm to this book. Each author gardens according to her particular tastes and needs and writes about them with conviction


Author: Tim Richardson, photographs by Andrea Jones
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Ltd
ISBN: 9780-7112-2886-3

Thank you Frances Lincoln Ltd for giving us a publication that allows us to visit some of the great gardens of North America, without having to leave home



Author: Hilary Macaskell
Publisher: Francis Lincoln
ISBN: 978-0-7112-3029-3

The publication focuses on the importance of dwellings to the private Agatha Christie who owned eight houses, all of which were used as settings for her work



Author: Steven Apfelbaum
Beacon Press
ISBN:13 978-0-8070-8582

Reading about his successful land restoration, it becomes clear that there is sheer delight to be found in recreating a natural preserve.





Author: Carol Cumes
Publisher: Mitra Publishing Group
ISBN: 978 0 9654003 9 8

One of the best kept secrets of gardening is the spiritual transformation that one experiences each time one enters a garden to tend, to admire or to escape. For that reason, a chakra garden is not an altogether new concept to the passionate gardener. It may also help others understand the spirituality that some gardeners have reported experiencing.



Author: The Editors of Phaidon Press
ISBN: 9780714849584


The editors of Phaidon Press continue to impress me. They make rigorous work seem easy. In their latest publication The Contemporary Garden, they tackle an encyclopedic amount of material [as they did with The English Garden] and distill it into an easy-to-read picture essay. In this instance the essay is about the evolution of the contemporary garden from the early 1920’s up until today.





Author:  Lawrence D. Griffith
Photographs by Barbara Temple Lombardi
ISBN: 978 0 300 14536-6
Publisher: Yale University Press with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Gardeners who do not use a camera are always amazed by the beauty that nature photographers find in the mundane. When we walk along a rural road, we ignore the common milkweed growing by the wayside. It is ugly, boring and ubiquitous. Yet, in this book, the photographer has transformed Asclepia syriaca into a work of art. That’s what I love about beautifully illustrated books on gardening. They allow us to see something old, as if it were new, for the very first time.




Authors: Tasha Tudor and Richard Brown

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

ISBN: 978 -0 -316 -11292-5


The late Tasha Tudor, was a writer and illustrator of children’s’ books. Her farm in southern Vermont is a physical manifestation of all that was dear to her.This book explores her home, gardens, hobbies, writings and illustrations; all of which reflect the romantic nature of this multifaceted individual.








Author: Fran Sorin

Publisher:Warner Books

ISBN 13: 978-0-446-69402-5, ISBN: 10: 0-446-69402-9

With a background in landscape design, psychology and communications, the author has built a successful career assisting clients to visualize their garden needs. On occasion, this has turned out to be a challenge because several of her clients saw themselves as uncreative. Consequently, they would express helplessness in articulating a personal vision for their garden. The author disagrees.



Authors: Lauren Springer and Rob Procter

ISBN 1-55591-348-2

Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing

 




The concept of the Westerner in American culture, conjures up the image of a friendly and unpretentious person. That explains the feeling one gets when reading this book. Not only is the style of writing informal but also, the gardens illustrated are bereft of the formality we often see and read about in British garden books. More than just a book about gardening, this publication is a window into the unabashed joy of getting down and dirty in the garden and the sheer pleasure of the physical energy expended in  doing related  chores.






Author: Editors of Phaidon Press

Publisher: Phaidon Press

ISBN: 978 0 7148 4892 1

One should not call a garden "English" without specifying the century or the designer's name attached to it. Each age brought its own interpretation to the landscape surrounding the proverbial English manor. This publication, which is encyclopedic in its coverage of English gardens, teaches us that every landowner asked something different from his landscape designer. Furthermore, what comes to mind as a traditional English garden may be English in origin but is certainly not what some of us might call a "garden".

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Author: Barbara Pleasant and Deborah L. Martin

Publisher: Storey Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-58017-702-3: ISBN: 978-1-58017-703-0

The hedgehog that lives in my back yard has let me know, in his own way, that purchasing a compost bin with a ground level opening is not a good idea. He already eats everything tasty in my garden, so access to compostable kitchen scraps will only  create a feast for him and a mess for me.





Author: Sarah Raven

Photographs by Jonathan Buckley

Publisher: Francis Lincoln

ISBN 13: 978071121752 2

 

A book arrived by post this morning, on  the shortest day of the year, when the sky was dreary, the temperature had dipped below  minus twelve  degrees centigrade and  fifteen centimeters of snow were predicted to fall. The unwrapping of the book was the equivalent of lighting a bonfire in my living room.  It arrived at the best moment to warm and illuminate the day. 






Editor: Marilyn Rogers

Authors: Scott Aker and Laura Deeter

ISBN-10: 0696236648

ISBN-13: 978-0696236648

Publishers:  Meredith Books

Amongst some gardeners, the Miracle-Gro company is reputed to have created some of the most eye catching TV commercials and print ads that have ever targeted plant lovers.  They are very good at visualizing the successful results of proper feeding and care. However, the detail lavished in the preparation of this basic primer on growing perennials surpasses anything that they’ve done in their marketing department.





Authors: Arne Maynard with Anne De Verteuil

Publisher: HarperCollins

ISBN-10: 0-06-059631-7:  ISBN-13: 978-0-06-059631-6

 

Gardeners are happy to read  books on their favorite topic because there is always something new to discover. So it was with much anticipation that I sat down to read Garden Design Details. What an eye opening experience! In the hands of this author and his collaborator, a garden can be transformed into a modern sculpture. Organic and full of texture that it may be, it is, in the end, a work of art.





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