Industry pays its respects to George Beaven and Joan Beales

Two highly respected industry figures died this month, vegetable seed specialist Laurence "George" Beaven, and Joan Beales, a company director and wife of the rose specialist Peter.

George Beaven was horticultural director of Booker Seeds in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, until his retirement in the late 1980s. Anthony Andrews, with whom he worked for several years said he was internationally renowned and had a great character.
"George was tremendously experienced, largely self taught, and a man of national and international standing. But he never became affected with all the respect and company promotions; he was still George to everyone."
Beaven, who died aged 85, made a name in vegetable seeds and bred several varieties including Greenshaft, a favourite of Prince Philip, said garden writer Peter Seabrook. He leaves a wife, Dyllis, and two children.
"His biggest claim to fame was the launch of four excellent garden pea varieties in 1971," recalled Andrews of
Hurst Astrol, a maincrop variety with outstanding flavour, Hurst Beagle, a very early variety, Hurst Canice, a maincrop variety bred for the canning and freezing industry, and Hurst Greenshaft - a very high yielding variety still in commerce today. This variety has been used in Royal Gardens for fresh pea consumption."
He was a director at Hurst Gunson Cooper Taber in the 1960s before the company was taken over by Booker McConnell in the mid 1980s. The company became Booker Seeds in 1997.
Joan Beales was a founding director of Peter Beales Roses in Attleborough, Norfolk and worked with the couple’s two children Amanda and Richard. She died recently after a long illness aged 71.
She started the company, which now exports around the world, with husband Peter after moving to Norfolk in the late 1960s and helped the business win many awards at international events including the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
To mark her contribution to the family business, a fragrant rose with velvet red semi-double blooms was named after her. As a director she played a full part in the business, often typing manuscripts of Peter’s books.

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