Martha Ann Webb of Anna invites members of the community to be a part of the upcoming Annabelle Festival Trail. Photo provided.

Community members invited to be part of Annabelle Festival Trail

It is said that Harriet Kirkpatrick of the famous Anna Pottery family discovered Annabelle hydrangeas in 1910 while riding her horse in the woods near Anna. 

She and Amy Kirkpatrick went back and dug up some of the plants and took them home to put in the family’s yard.

The Kirkpatrick family generously shared the plants with friends and neighbors.

About 50 years later, Bon Hartline of Anna, who is probably best known for his collection of 100 genera of American hybrid holly shrubs and trees, became interested in the “Annabelle.”

Hartline invited his former University of Illinois professor, Dr. J.C. McDaniel, to visit Anna to study the plant.

McDaniel classified and registered it as “hydrangea arborescence” in 1960. It is said that he originally gave it the common name of “Ballerina” because of the flower’s very round shape.

However, it is thought the name “Annabelle” was chosen for the two “belles” from Anna who discovered the beautiful plant over 100 years ago.

The story of the plant discovered in Union County will take center stage at the upcoming Annabelle Festival, which is planned June 8 in Anna.

An Annabelle Trail will be part of the community celebration.

Martha Ann Webb of Anna, who is a member of the Anna City Council, invites community members to be part of the Annabelle Trail. 

To learn how to be a part of the trail, contact Martha Ann Webb by phone at 1-618-614-0939 or by email at marthaannwebb@gmail.com. She also welcomes pictures of those who have Annabelle hydrangeas with their plants.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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