England's Poison Garden: Don't Stop To Smell These Flowers

If you've ever gotten on the wrong side of poison ivy, you know that some plants can fight back. Over the centuries, humans have learned to stay away from these plants, but they still have some charm. Actually, there is a special garden in England in which every plant can harm you.

Poison Gardener

Jane Perry didn't plan on becoming a duchess, but after her brother-in-law died unexpectedly in 1995, her husband passed the title Duke of Northumberland. In addition to the fancy titles, the couple inherited Alnwick Castle, which stood in for Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter films and has been the traditional seat of the Duke of Northumberland for generations. Perry's husband tasked her with getting their gardens back in shape, so she collaborated with renowned landscape architect Jacques Wirtz to transform the 14 acres around the palace into grand, manicured grounds complete with scented roses, charming paths, topiaries, and sculptures. worked for. He also decided to create a garden full of deadly and deadly plants.

Alnwick Poison Garden

There are over 100 types of poisonous plants in the Alnvik Poison Garden. Some are exotic species from South America and Asia, but few are as common as the laurel, which Perry says many people don't know is poisonous. Also included are nightshade, angel's trumpet, belladonna, laburnum tree, Christmas rose, wolf bane and castor oil plants, the latter of which yields the toxin ricin. Gardeners at Alnwick Poison Garden joke that they grow "ABC" (or all classes) of drugs, including opium poppies and cannabis that must be carefully documented for legal reasons.

Teaching Moment

Initially, Perry wanted to add a collection of medicinal plants, but at Italy's famous Medici poison garden, she was educated about plants that can heal you and even kill you, and she started her own poison garden. Sees it as an equal educational opportunity. For security reasons, there is a fence around the garden, a prominent sign guarded by an iron gate warning visitors not to touch or smell the plants inside, as the palace welcomes over 600,000 visitors annually.

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