Where Is the Poison Garden?

poison-garden Credit: Chris/CC-BY-SA 2.0

Inside northern England's Alnwick Garden lies a curious, highly-guarded area where the last thing you'll want to do is tiptoe through the tulips. Surrounded by a heavy iron fence, the Poison Garden showcases over 100 of the world's most deadly plants.

Jane Percy, the Duchess of Northumberland, with the help and expertise of a landscape architect, designed most of the 14 acres of Alnwick Garden as a beautiful English garden in 1996. However, the duchess wanted an unusual feature to draw more visitors to Alnwick Castle and its newly redesigned landscape.

After rejecting her initial inclination to include an apothecary garden with medicinal plants, the idea to feature poisonous plants intrigued her. Following years of carefully curating the best and most interesting plants, the Poison Garden opened to the public in 2005.

Some of the toxic and narcotic plants in the garden include Brugmansia, or angel?s trumpets; hemlock; opium poppies; and magic mushrooms. Certain specimens are so dangerous that they are kept in cages within the gated garden, which itself is under 24-hour security.

In addition to not touching the plants, tourists are also advised to avoid even smelling the plants, as the fumes from certain plants have caused a handful of visitors to faint.