Photo used with permission from The Biltmore Company, Asheville, North Carolina.
Born in St. Catharines, Ontario, Beadle received an education in horticulture at Ontario Agricultural College and Cornell University before being hired by Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. to work in the nursery of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Beadle remained at Biltmore for his entire career, cultivating an encyclopedic knowledge of plants, especially the flora of the southern United States. During his six-decade tenure at Biltmore, he rose to become superintendent of the 125,000-acre estate. He is best known for his collection and study of azaleas, traveling throughout the country to collect a diverse assortment of species and amassing 3,000 specimens at his farm in Asheville over several decades. As he reached old age, in 1940, Beadle received permission from Edith Stuyvesant Vanderbilt and Biltmore Company president Junius Greene Adams to replant his azalea collection in the Glen below Biltmore’s Conservatory, even though the Azalea Garden (as it became known) was not a part of Olmsted’s original plan for the estate. Olmsted Brothers oversaw the planting of the 15-acre garden, which now includes more than 20,000 plants. A marker in the Azalea Garden memorializes Beadle’s career and gift to the estate. He died in 1950 in Asheville.