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An interview with Andrew Beckman

by Timber Press on November 1, 2010

in Gardening

This year, at the end of September, Andrew Beckman joined Timber Press as Editorial Director. Many of you will know him as the Garden Editor for Martha Stewart Living, and talk show host for Homegrown on Sirius satellite radio.

In his new role here in our Portland offices, Andrew is responsible for overseeing our book acquisitions, working with editors Tom Fischer, Juree Sondker, and Anna Mumford to dream up the most exciting book ideas and seek out the brightest authors.

For me, having Andrew on board is nothing short of a triumph. I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to have someone so smart, experienced, and funny walking our halls. And, added to all that, he’s a really nice guy. So, for those of you who haven’t met him, I thought I’d do a little Q & A  so you could get to know him a little better.

Are there any plants particular to the Northwest that you just can’t wait to grow?

There is this entire world of bulbs that were not hardy in any of my past gardens.  I love a plant that springs up, flashes its stuff and then sinks back into the earth.  There are so many that I won’t know where to start when I have a plot of ground to plant.

And what about about gardening in the Northeast will you miss the most?

I will miss the fall the most.  Not just the wild colors, but the sense of the season coming to an end.  I love a killing frost.  Kind of twisted isn’t it?

How would you characterize your own personal garden style? How do you think your move will impact that style?

My style has always been eclectic and I am more interested in texture and form than in color.  I don’t think that will change much, except that the plant palette is about ten times larger in Oregon than in New York. Of course I may need a bit more color in a land where the sun doesn’t shine for months on end. That is where those bulbs come in to play.

How about that rain?

I haven’t seen much of Oregon’s storied rain so far.  The fall has been so dazzling that the coming winter is hard for me to imagine.

Give me 3 good reasons you took the job at Timber Press:

1) I love garden books and this is the best publisher of works on horticulture in the world.

2) I have never wanted to write a book myself, but I love the idea of helping other people bring their books to life.

2) I can see Mt. Hood from my office window.

Tell me what went through your mind when you first heard about the opportunity at Timber.

Answered prayers.

Name two upcoming Timber books that you’re particularly excited about.

How geeky does it make me seem when I say Crocuses: A Complete Guide to the Genus and Planting the Dry Shade Garden?

I know you’ll be househunting soon, what are your requirements for the perfect garden?

I want room to plant trees.  I might like a little change in elevation too.  But most of all I want privacy.  After gardening for other people for years and then creating display gardens for the nursery, I want to create a private garden that is just for me and Bob.

You’ve been here just over a month — any surprises?

How nice everyone is.  I heard about how wonderful the people are but it still surprises me how really true that is.  Is there a sign at the border warning snarky people to turn back?  If there is, how did I get by?

What’s your favorite Portland food cart?

I am a frequent patron of the smoothie cart on 3rd Street, but I really like the Greek cart on 2nd just up the street from the office.  They make a great gyro and they even pronounce it right.  That said I have many more to try before I settle on a favorite.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joseph Tychonievich November 1, 2010 at 12:48 pm

I’m so with you on ephemeral bulbs… It seems everyone these days talks about plants that give 4 seasons of interest and foliage and all… I like plants that look good all year, but a garden full of them is…well, dull! I love having something new, and fleeting in the garden!

2 Debra Lee Baldwin November 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm

As a Timber author, I am beyond thrilled. A huge “welcome to the West” to Andrew and Bob!

3 Matt Mattus December 10, 2010 at 10:35 am

How exciting! I noticed your name was no longer on the MSL masthead, and then read the Plant Delights Newsletter so it’s true! What a dream – to be able to garden in a zone 7/8 paradise!! Congratulations!

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