Colin Clare, Reference Librarian, writes:
As the Chelsea Flower show has just passed by for another year, this seems to be an opportune time to highlight a garden publication that has been around for exactly one hundred years. It was way back in 1914 that William Jackson Bean wrote and published his first two-volume edition of the reference work Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles which was immediately recognized as a masterpiece of authoritative writing and which has remained a standard reference work ever since.
William Jackson Bean was born in Yorkshire in1863 and started work as a student gardener at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew. He continued working there for 45 years, becoming curator from 1922 to 1929. He became a leading expert on woody plants in cultivation and published several other articles and books as well as this major work which was the first book to arrange trees and shrubs in alphabetical order as opposed to botanical classification as all its predecessors had done.
In addition, he wrote in a presentation style that satisfied both amateur gardeners and professional botanists alike. A third volume was published in 1933 and five further editions were published in Bean’s lifetime.
After his death in 1947, further editions appeared and although the eighth and last edition is no longer in print, copies of it can still be viewed at Chelsea and Kensington Reference libraries. You are welcome to come in and browse- please ask a member of staff for help.