As it’s Halloween, we thought we’d bring you a suitably dark and unusual visitor attraction as our Curiosity of the Week.
The Poison Garden at Northumberland’s Alnwick Garden isn’t packed full of your usual plant species. In fact, all the plants are picked especially for their harmful or toxic nature.
Visitors to the garden are met by ominous looking black gates, decorated with a skull and crossbones, and the warning that ‘these plants can kill’. Inside there is a vast array of plants including Monkshood, Laburnum, Laurel, Deadly Nightshade, and Angel’s Trumpet.
Angel’s Trumpet, so-called because of its pretty trumpet-shaped flowers, can have medicinal uses but also causes paralysis, hallucinations, and even death, when ingested. Deadly Nightshade (Atropa Belladonna) is a more well-known poisonous plant, and just a small handful of its berries would kill a child.
Some of the plants are common in British gardens, but that makes them no less deadly. For instance Laurel, commonly used in hedges, produces cyanide. Laburnum trees produce beautiful yellow flowers, but all parts are actually poisonous, and capable of causing sleepiness, frothing at the mouth and vomiting.
Perhaps the most poisonous plant in the garden is Ricinus Communis, the source of deadly Ricin.
The garden was originally created by the Duchess of Northumberland as an alternative to a herb garden, highlighting the dangers of harmful and illicit drugs.
Visitors to The Alnwick Garden can take a guided tour of The Poison Garden, and tours usually run throughout the day. Admission to The Alnwick Garden costs from £11.50 for adults.
We are always on the lookout for interesting customs, hidden places, and unique buildings and landmarks, to share with our readers.