The Chelsea Belladonna blooms again

Author Anna Carlisle
Author Anna Carlisle

A garden in the upper Calder Valley will blossom to the sights and sounds of ‘The Chelsea Belladonna’ this weekend.

The afternoon of theatre, painting and botany will celebrate and focus on the life and work of Elizabeth Blackwell, 18th-century botanical illustrator and compiler of ‘A Curious Herbal’, which contains beautiful illustrations of medicinal plants.

‘The Chelsea Belladonna’ by Calder Valley author Anna Carlisle was taken on a full production tour of six Scottish gardens last year by Square Peg Productions.

While 2013 represents something of a “rest year” for the company, Square Peg remains active and in harness, and is delighted to have been able to create this opportunityto bring a sample of both the play and its fascinating heroine to Hebden Bridge.

The company also wants to pay tribute to local people’s interest and encouragement in the company and its work over the years since its inception in 2005.

The one-day event, ‘An Afternoon with The Chelsea Belladonna’ at Land Farm Garden, Colden on Sunday, offers two opportunities for visitors to join in.

The two sessions start at 12pm and 4pm.

Tickets (£10 or £8) are available either at the gate, by ringing 01422 844901 or by going to

Hebden Royd Town Council, the Bearder Charity, the Clifton Foundation, Word of Mouth Art and Craft Supplies and Pennine Heritage have all put their support behind the production.

Scottish-born Elizabeth Blackwell lived from 1707 to 1758. The first printing of her book ‘A Curious Herbal’ met with moderate success, both because of the meticulous quality of the illustrations and the great need for an updated herbal.