Saturday 11th August 2018
Venue: Chawton House
4.30pm drinks reception for 5pm talk.
A Curious Case of a Curious Herbal
Andrew Bentley (Chawton House Garden Manager)
The Elizabeth Blackwell herb garden was designed by Andrew in November 2015 and constructed and planted between February and May 2016. Andrew was inspired by our first edition of the botanist Elizabeth Blackwell’s book A Curious Herbal. This book, published in two volumes between 1737-1739, describes the medicinal uses of five hundred plants that Elizabeth painstakingly researched, illustrated and coloured whilst spending her days at Chelsea Physic Garden in London. The background to how this book came to be created and published and the fortunes and misfortunes of its author make a fascinating tale that captured Andrew’s imagination and set him on a journey to make a garden as a lasting tribute to Blackwell’s work. Andrew’s talk will describe the life story of Blackwell, and detail the creative process of his own design installation of the garden here at Chawton. Visitors shall have the opportunity to view our beautiful first edition of A Curious Herbal in our lower reading room before joining Andrew on a walk up to the herb garden to see the finished work.
Andrew has been the garden manager at Chawton House since January 2016. His first project was the design and installation of the Elizabeth Blackwell herb garden in the walled garden built by Jane Austen’s brother Edward. Before coming to Chawton House, Andrew held several Head Gardener roles at prominent Hampshire gardens, including the grade 2* listed Houghton Lodge Gardens on the river Test near Stockbridge. Here he also designed and installed a herb garden based on four areas of herbal plant uses. Andrew has had his own gardening business since 2007 – The Gardening Gent – which he runs alongside his job. Clients have included the Petersfield Physic Garden and country pubs requiring herbal and edible garden installations. He has a certificate in English Landscape History from Oxford University as well as a degree in Wildlife Management from Portsmouth University, and he is a keen advocate of working sympathetically with the historical environment and in wildlife-friendly ways.
Tickets: £12; Students/Friends £9
To book, call us on 01420 541010 or book online here (subject to Eventbrite booking fee).