2019 Annabelle Fest

It is said that Harriet Kirkpatrick, of the famous Anna Pottery family, discovered the beautiful 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". He invited his former University of Illinois professor, Dr. J.C. McDaniel, to visit Anna to study the plant.

Dr. 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 flowers very round shape. However, it is thought the name "Annabelle" was chosen for the two "belles" from Anna who discovered the beautiful plant 100 years ago!