Great Britain’s most influential and prestigious seed and nursery company before the first World War was the firm of James Veitch & Son.1 Its 1904 brochure of novelties shows some of the plants brought from China by their collector, E.H.Wilson. It also presents some of the many new hybrids of ornamental plants developed at the Royal Exotic Nursery, which was famous for its collection of orchids. Before closing in 1914, the Veitch company operated several nurseries and produced a range of catalogues devoted to different species of plants and trees; these are listed on p.100 of their 1913 seed catalogue. Veitch’s tool selection from 1913 is another measure of how specialized gardening knowledge had become by the early twentieth century.
In addition to James Veitch & Sons, several other important British fruit tree nurseries are represented in the OSU collection, such as George Bunyard & Co. of the Royal Nurseries, Maidstone, and Thomas Rivers & Son, who also specialized in roses. The George Bunyard & Son catalogues edited by Edward A. Bunyard, such as that of 1914, are particularly interesting for fruit historians, since they contain information on the raisers and dates of introductions for many varieties of fruit and nut trees, grapes, and berries.2 An example is shown in this scan of Bunyard’s 1914 apple varieties. The catalogues also contain information such as lists of apples in order of ripening, varieties for show or home gardeners, planting tips, and a calendar of fruit tree care.