The Poison Garden

The Poison Garden

Baneful Herbs – Alnwich Castle and Garden, Northumberland, England

NORTHUMBERLAND England – Visitors are encouraged to touch, smell, and even nibble a berry or two as they stroll through Alnwick Castle’s walled 12 acres of shrubs, trees and flowers – until they reach the Poison Garden. Here some of the world’s most venomous and hallucinogenic plants are grown, some so virulent or hallucinogenic that they are incarcerated in caged beds.

About the Poison Garden

It’s not often that the Home Office becomes involved with plants in the setting of a public garden, but in this instance a number of the ‘inmates’ have to have their very own license in order to be there at all.

Many of the plants are already well-known for their medicinal properties, but as its creator, the Duchess of Northumberland said:

‘I wondered why so many gardens around the world focused on the healing power of plants rather than their ability to kill… I felt that most children I knew would be more interested in hearing how a plant killed, how long it would take you to die if you ate it and how gruesome and painful the death might be.’

Some familiar plants…

Also grown within the guarded confines of the Poison Garden are many other plants which are easily recognisable by even the most reluctant gardener, for many killers grow in your own back yard.

Foxgloves, belladonna, poppies, laburnam and varieties of aquilegia thrive among the rarefied atmosphere of the Poison Garden. Those who work here treat the plants with the utmost respect, wearing gloves when working with them.

The warning on the gates, ‘These Plants May Kill’ should not be taken lightly by anyone, for with familiarity comes contempt, and from contempt – danger.



~ by Sable Aradia on April 7, 2013.

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