Cox, Jeff 1940-

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Cox, Jeff 1940-

PERSONAL:

Born May 15, 1940, in Manhasset, NY; married; wife's name Susanna; children: five. Education: Lehigh University, B.A., 1962, and graduate study.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Kenwood, CA. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, editor, and horticulturist. Pocono Record, Stroudsburg, PA, news editor, 1963-65; Medical Economics, associate editor, 1965-67; Mogubgub/Zet Ltd., New York, NY, film and television animator and writer, 1967-69; Sunday Call-Chronicle, Allentown, PA, city editor, 1970-71; Organic Gardening, associate editor, 1970-76, managing editor, 1976-80, contributing editor; Rodale Press, Emmaus, PA, director of electronic publishing and writer and producer of the television series Home Dynamics, 1980-83, consulting editor to Book Division, 1983-85; Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), host of the series Your Organic Garden, 1995; Home and Garden Television (HGTV), host of Spring Special, 1999, and the series Grow It! A Gardener's Guide. Time-Life, Inc., chief horticultural consultant for the series "The Complete Gardener," 1994-95; consultant in horticulture, landscape design, and winemaking.

MEMBER:

Garden Writers Association of America, North Coast Wine Media Association, James Beard Foundation, Association of Food Journalists.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Garden Writers Association of America, Quill and Trowel Award of Merit, 1985, for The Perennial Garden, annual book award, 1993, for Creating a Garden for the Senses, and award for "best electronic medium," 1995, for Your Organic Garden.

WRITINGS:

From Vines to Wines, Harper (New York, NY), 1985, revised edition, Garden Way (North Adams, MA), 1999.

(With Marilyn Cox) The Perennial Garden, Rodale Press (Emmanus, PA), 1985.

Seasonal Celebrations, Rodale Press (Emmanus, PA), 1986.

The Spirit of Gardening: Reflections on the True Joys of Gardening, Rodale Press (Emmanus, PA), 1986.

Flowers for All Seasons: A Guide to Colorful Trees, Shrubs, and Vines, Rodale Press (Emmanus, PA), 1987.

How to Grow Vegetables Organically, Rodale Press (Emmanus, PA), 1988.

Landscaping with Nature, Rodale Press (Emmanus, PA), 1990.

Plant Marriages: What Plants Look Good Together, HarperCollins (San Francisco, CA), 1993.

Creating a Garden for the Senses, Abbeville Press (New York, NY), 1993.

Your Organic Garden, Rodale Press (Emmanus, PA), 1994.

Home Landscaping, Better Homes and Gardens Books (Des Moines, IA), 1996.

Jeff Cox's 101 Greatest Garden Ideas, Rodale Press (Emmanus, PA), 1998.

Perennial All-stars: The 150 Best Perennials for Great-looking, Trouble-free Gardens, Rodale Press (Emmanus, PA), 1998.

Jeff Cox's Tips and Techniques for All-star Perennials (videotape), Rodale Press (Emmanus, PA), 1998.

Decorating Your Garden (Book-of-the-Month Club selection), Abbeville Press (New York, NY), 1999.

Landscape with Roses: Gardens, Walkways, Arbors, Containers, Taunton Press (Newtown, CT), 2002.

Cellaring Wine: A Working System for Selecting Wines to Age, Storing Them, and Drinking Them When They Are Just Right, Storey Publishing (North Adams, MA), 2003.

The Organic Cook's Bible: How to Select and Cook the Best Ingredients on the Market, John Wiley & Sons (Hoboken, NJ), 2006.

The Organic Food Shopper's Guide: What You Need to Know to Select and Cook the Best Food on the Market, John Wiley & Sons (Hoboken, NJ), 2008.

Also author of Gardener's Almanac, Seasonal Celebration, Rodale Press. Restaurant reviewer, Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, CA); columns include "Thinking Out Loud," in Pocono Record, 1963-65, "Youth Beat," for New York News-Chicago Tribune Syndicate, 1967-69, "This Generation," for Newspaper Enterprise Association, 1968-70, "Organic Living," in Organic Gardening, 1980-83, "Another Look," in Organic Gardening, 1983-85, "The Kitchen Gardener," in San Francisco Chronicle, 1985-94, "First Season," in Organic Gardening, 1987-89, and a health-care column, SelfCare Journal, 1989-91. Contributor to periodicals, including Fine Wine Folio, Wine and Spirits, Diversion, California, Decanter, and Wine Spectator. Executive editor, Environment Action Bulletin, 1972-76; senior editor, Global Vintage; contributing editor, Men's Health and Wine News.

SIDELIGHTS:

Jeff Cox is known both as the host of television gardening shows and as the author of practical guides for home gardeners. Landscaping, rose cultivation, viticulture, and organic gardening are some of the subjects he has discussed in his work. In Perennial All-stars: The 150 Best Perennials for Great-looking, Trouble-free Gardens, Cox describes 150 plants that can be easily maintained to create attractive gardens. A reviewer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune commented that Cox "gives readers a vivid understanding of the characteristics of each plant and he isn't afraid to say a plant is invasive or a bit picky about its care." Overall, the Perennial All-stars is "a highly useful book for new gardeners and a handy reference for experts," noted the critic.

Cox considers aesthetic issues more thoroughly in books such as Creating a Garden for the Senses and Plant Marriages: What Plants Look Good Together. In the latter, he discusses plant pairings and groupings, with special attention to height and color. Border perennials, trees, shrubs, and groundcovers are all treated here. Both large and small gardens and yards are shown to illustrate how things work on various scales. Ann Lovejoy, a reviewer for Horticulture, advised that Cox does assume his readers have mastered basic gardening skills, "so the logistics of planting and maintaining mixed plant communities are only sketchily presented." She added that the guide should prove helpful for those wishing to "organize pleasing, long-term garden effects." In Creating a Garden for the Senses, the author includes scent in his consideration of plants, and, in the words of Booklist contributor Alice Joyce, he "explores the garden as an art form and defines plant groupings according to such elements as tactile qualities and visual balance created by shape, line, and mass."

The author has also written two books for those interested in organic cooking and shopping. In The Organic Cook's Bible: How to Select and Cook the Best Ingredients on the Market, Cox discusses exactly what constitutes "organic" within the guidelines of the U.S. federal government definition of the term. In the process, he provides a general overview of what role soil, climate, and freshness play in all types of produce, including dairy and meat items. He also guides readers on how to get the best organic ingredients, discussing topics such as how to identify the best kinds of produce and the best brands, as well as the best types of packaged organic ingredients. He provides information on reading labels and also outlines storage ideas for various organic produce. In addition, the author writes about the best way to cook various organic products and includes a number of recipes. "Unlike most reference books, his is filled with personal touches," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor in reference to the book's many sidebars in which the author writes about his favorite organic foods and recipes. Writing in Booklist, Mark Knoblauch noted that "this valuable reference tool empowers the reader with practical knowledge."

The Organic Food Shopper's Guide: What You Need to Know to Select and Cook the Best Food on the Market addresses the average consumer looking to learn more about how to shop for organic foods and products. Cox discusses why he believes organic foods are better both for individuals and for the planet as a whole and points out that, in his opinion, organic foods taste better. The book includes numerous recipes. "Readers will find concrete advice in this basic primer," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. Chicago Tribune contributor Renee Enna commented that The Organic Food Shopper's Guide "is a great go-to guide for shoppers who want in-depth information on why organic matters."

Cox once told CA: "I come from a family of commercial graphic artists. For sure I was going to be one myself, even making my living from graphic art for a few years in my late twenties. But earlier, as a high school kid, I'd also discovered the joy of creating with words. As it turned out, the writing was more lucrative than the graphic art work, and over the years I've worked steadily on newspapers, magazines, and books.

"When I was eight, my parents moved from the comfort of Manhasset, New York, to the wilds of the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. I was plucked from the suburbs and set down in a world of hunting, fishing, and swimming naked in spring-cold creeks. Arriving in nature at that age made an enormous impression on me, and my deep love of nature has informed my writing ever since.

"Writing is my work, and so economics is a prime motivation that drives me to my computer each day. I'm disciplined. I have about four or five good hours of writing in me each day—then the tank is dry. After that, I do correspondence, check my e-mail, run errands, et cetera. I make sure I write every day except Sunday (family day) and on the days when I'm in front of the camera for the television show."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist: What Plants Look Good Together, March 1, 1993, Alice Joyce, review of Plant Marriages: What Plants Look Good Together, p. 1146; January 1, 1994, Alice Joyce, review of Creating a Garden for the Senses and Your Organic Garden, p. 797; January 1, 2002, Alice Joyce, review of Landscape with Roses: Gardens, Walkways, Arbors, Containers, p. 788; April 1, 2006, Mark Knoblauch, review of The Organic Cook's Bible: How to Select and Cook the Best Ingredients on the Market, p. 12.

Chicago Tribune, June 4, 2008, Renee Enna, "Organic Go-to Guide."

Horticulture, August-September, 1993, Ann Lovejoy, review of Plant Marriages, p. 67.

Library Journal, September 15, 1985, Carole Ledford, review of The Perennial Garden, p. 87; October 1, 1986, Evelyn G. Callaway, review of The Spirit of Gardening: Reflections on the True Joys of Gardening, p. 104; February 1, 1988, Pamela R. Daubenspeck, review of Flowers for All Seasons: A Guide to Colorful Trees, Shrubs, and Vines, p. 70; March 1, 1988, David J. Panciera, review of How to Grow Vegetables Organically, p. 73; March 1, 1993, Dale Luchsinger, review of Plant Marriages, p. 98; January, 1994, Dale Luchsinger, review of Creating a Garden for the Senses, p. 148; March 15, 1998, Phillip Oliver, review of Perennial All-stars: The 150 Best Perennials for Great-looking, Trouble-free Gardens, p. 87; April 1, 2006, Jennifer A. Wickes, review of The Organic Cook's Bible, p. 117.

Organic Gardening, August, 1988, review of Flowers for All Seasons, p. 16.

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), April 18, 1998, Suzanne Hively, review of Perennial All-stars, p. 6.

Publishers Weekly, January 22, 1988, Penny Kaganoff, review of How to Grow Vegetables Organically and Flowers for All Seasons, p. 100; December 21, 1990, Molly McQuade, review of Landscaping with Nature, p. 53; February 22, 1993, review of Plant Marriages, p. 93; November 1, 1993, review of Creating a Garden for the Senses, p. 75; January 30, 2006, review of The Organic Cook's Bible, p. 59; December 17, 2007, review of The Organic Food Shopper's Guide: What You Need to Know to Select and Cook the Best Food on the Market, p. 48.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, December 19, 2002, review of Perennial All-stars, p. E10.

Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), January 16, 2003, review of Perennial All-stars, p. 14.

ONLINE

Jeff Cox Home Page,http://www.jeffcox.net (July 24, 2008).