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Rix, (Edward) Martyn 1943-

RIX, (Edward) Martyn 1943-

PERSONAL:

Born August 15, 1943, in England; son of Edward Lionel Reusner and Elizabeth (Joyce) Rix; married Alison Jane Goatcher, 1983; children: two daughters. Education: Trinity College, Dublin, M.A.; Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, Ph.D. Hobbies and other interests: Fishing, sailing, travel.

ADDRESSES:

Agent—c/o Author Mail, Macmillan Publishers, Ltd., 25 Eccleston Place, London SW1W 9NF, England.

CAREER:

Botanist and author. University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland, resident fellow, 1971-73; Royal Horticultural Society, Wisley, England, botanist, 1974-78.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Gold Veitch Memorial Medal, Royal Horticultural Society, 1999.

WRITINGS:

(With Roger Phillips) Bulbs, 1981.

The Art of the Plant World: The Great Botanical Illustrators and Their Work, Overlook Press (Woodstock, NY), 1981, published as The Art of the Botanist, 1981.

Growing Bulbs, 1983.

(With Roger Phillips) Freshwater Fish, 1985.

(With William T. Stearn) Redouté's Fairest Flowers, Prentice Hall (New York, NY), 1987.

(Editor, with Alison Rix) Garden Open Today: To Celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the National Gardens Scheme, photographs by Jacqui Hurst, Viking (New York, NY), 1987, published as Garden Open Today: A Guide to Gardens Open to the Public through the National Gardens Scheme, Mermaid Books (London, England) 1988.

(With Roger Phillips) Roses, Random House (New York, NY), 1988.

(With Roger Phillips) Shrubs, Pan (London, England), 1989.

(With Roger Phillips) The Random House Book of Bulbs, Random House (New York, NY), 1989. The Redouté Album, 1990.

(With Roger Phillips) The Random House Book of Perennials, Random House (New York, NY), 1991.

(Author of introduction) Art in Nature: Classic Botanical Prints from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Century, Rizzoli (New York, NY), 1991.

(With Roger Phillips) Perennials, two volumes, Pan (London, England), 1991, published in one volume as Perennials: The Definitive Reference, Firefly Books (New York, NY), 2002.

(With Roger Phillips) The Random House Book of Vegetables, Random House (New York, NY), 1993.

(With Roger Phillips) The Quest for the Rose (based on a BBC television series), Random House (New York, NY), 1993.

(With Roger Phillips) Conservatory and Indoor Plants, Macmillan (London, England), 1995.

(With Roger Phillips) Perfect Plants, Random House (New York, NY), 1996.

(With Roger Phillips) The Best Scented Plants, Pan (London, England), 1998.

(With Roger Phillips) Plants for Pots and Patios, Pan (London, England), 1998.

(With Roger Phillips) Summer Annuals, Pan (London, England), 1998.

(With Roger Phillips) Traditional Old Roses, Pan (London, England), 1998.

(With Roger Phillips) Plants for Shade, Pan (London, England), 1998.

(With Roger Phillips) Salad Plants for Your Vegetable Garden, Pan (London, England), 1998.

(With Roger Phillips) Climbers for Walls and Arbours, Pan (London, England), 1998.

(With Roger Phillips) Herbs for Cooking, Pan (London, England), 1998.

(With Roger Phillips) Annuals, 1999.

(With Roger Phillips) Annuals and Biennials: The Definitive Reference, Firefly Books (Buffalo, NY), 2002.

(With Roger Phillips) The Botanical Garden, Volume I: Trees and Shrubs, Volume II: Perennials and Annuals, Firefly Books (Buffalo, NY), 2002.

ADAPTATIONS:

Perfect Plants was adapted as a CDROM, Maxis, 1996.

SIDELIGHTS:

Botanist and garden writer Martyn Rix has been a source of much-needed information for plant enthusiasts both in his native Great Britain and in North America. From the choice of what annuals to purchase to surround a patio to the most promising old-rose cultivars or the hardiest perennials, the photograph-laden guides Rix has published with frequent collaborator and photographer Roger Phillips are frequently relied on. In Shrubs, for instance, almost 2,000 species of shrubs are included, organized by the season in which they flower, while Conservatory and Indoor Plants, as Spectator reviewer Emma Tennant explained, "represents an awesome amount of travel and research." Praising the authors' inclusion of growing tips, Tennant added that despite the fact that the authors have "quartered the globe" in assembling the many exotic cultivars included in the book, Rix and Phillips "also open the readers eyes to sights he may have overlooked on his own doorstep."

In addition to stand-alone titles, as well as to encyclopedic works such as their 1991 two-volume Perennials and The Random House Book of Vegetables, Rix and Phillips have also created the multi-volume "Pan Plant-Choser Series" to aid gardeners with more specific problems. With clearly designed books of less than 100 pages each, the series includes such titles as The Best Scented Plants, Herbs for Cooking, and Plants for Pots and Patios. In praise of the authors' two-volume magnum opus The Botanical Garden, a Booklist contributor cited the work as one which "offers scholarly gardeners an alternative to popular horticulture guides." In the first volume, Trees and Shrubs, a variety of woody plants are organized, thanks to the availability of DNA analysis, under their evolutionary order—from primitive to highly developed—and their descriptions accompanied by detailed illustrations of leaves, blossoms, root structure, and bark. While noting the absence of common names, as well as to common uses, such as cooking, the reviewer added that nurserymen and botanists "will be overjoyed to find so brilliant a display of entries and plant photos," the data presented "definitive and full of exacting details." Anne Raver found a broader use for the volume, however, commenting in her New York Times review that due to the beautiful photographs and interesting facts included, the two volumes encompassing The Botanical Garden "are pure pleasure, so you can absorb as much or as little science as you please. Leave them on the bedside table, or in the living room, and absorb them by osmosis."

In addition to penning books about the identification and cultivation of plant materials, Rix has also explored the world of botanical art. His 1981 book The Art of the Plant World: The Great Botanical Illustrators and Their World encompasses five centuries of illustrations, including the so-called "golden age" of botanical art which occurred from 1700 to 1830 and features the technical drawings and paintings of Ehret, Turpin, and Redouté. Praising Rix for including not only information regarding the painters but also giving the men who voyaged with botanists to record new specimens of flora their due, British Book News contributor Donald Brett dubbed The Art of the Plant World "interesting," while in Publishers Weekly a reviewer exclaimed of Rix's volume: "Visually magnificent, heavily illustrated, this comprehensive study is in itself a work of art."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 15, 1987, review of Garden Open Today, p. 1396; February 15, 1994, George Cohen, review of The Random House Book of Vegetables, p. 1046; August, 2002, review of The Botanical Garden, p. 2006; December 1, 2002, review of The Botanical Garden, p. 696.

British Book News, April, 1982, Donald Brett, review of The Art of the Botanist, p. 246.

Guardian, January 11, 2003, Claire Armistad, review of The Botanical Garden.

Horticulture, February, 1995, Thomas Fischer, review of The Random House Book of Vegetables, p. 76; April, 1995, Thomas Fischer, review of The Quest for the Rose, p. 80; August-September, 1997, Ann Leyhe, review of Perfect Plants, p. 70.

Library Journal, December 15, 1981, Bruce H. Tiffney, review of The Art of the Plant World, p. 2400; April 15, 1989, Peter C. Leonard, review of Shrubs, p. 93; October 15, 2002, Sue O'Brien, review of The Botanical Garden, p. 64.

Maclean's, December 9, 2002, review of The Botanical Garden, p. 74.

New York Review of Books, January 20, 2000, James Fenton, review of Annuals and Biennials, pp. 31-32, 37.

New York Times, January 9, 1992, Linda Yang, review of The Random House Book of Perennials, p. C7; September 29, 2002, Anne Raver, "Botanical Books for Eye and Intellect," p. 12.

Publishers Weekly, October 30, 1981, review of The Art of the Plant World, p. 60; January 31, 1994, review of The Random House Book of Vegetables, p. 85; March 4, 2002, review of Perennials, p. 76; July 29, 2002, review of The Botanical Garden, p. 69.

Spectator, June 7, 1997, Emma Tennant, review of Conservatory and Indoor Plants, p. 48; December 11, 1999, Emma Tennant, review of Annuals and Biennials, p. 57.

Times Literary Supplement, March 12, 1982, Anthony Huxley, review of The Art of the Botanist, p. 288.

Wall Street Journal, January 7, 1993, Patti Hagan, review of The Random House Book of Perennials, p. A12; December 13, 1994, Patti Hagen, review of The Quest for the Rose, p. A16.*

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