Back in 1995, Jane Percy found herself with the title of Duchess of Northumberland, passed to her after brother-in-law died. And along with that title came a castle.
Most castles have gardens, but Alnwick Castle’s garden space was basically a Christmas tree farm.
Percy wanted to “try and do something really different.”
So she filled an entire wing of the garden with 100 poisonous plants:
She told the Smithsonian why she planted it:
If you’re building something, especially a visitor attraction, it needs to be something really unique…
…Children don’t care that aspirin comes from a bark of a tree. What’s really interesting is to know how a plant kills you, and how the patient dies, and what you feel like before you die.
The Poison Garden is part of a much larger, 14 acre complex, which gets over 600,000 visitors per year. Some people just come for a nice stroll with the family, though, so the Poison Garden is walled and gated to keep wandering children and others out:
You can only gain entrance via a guided tour. But it sure looks like it’s worth the wait:
The layout really is quite attractive:
Especially for a garden filled with things that want to kill you:
It’s main purpose, believe it or not, is to educate. Yes, some of the plants are rare and exotic, but many of them can be found near our own backyards. According to Percy:
What’s extraordinary about the plants is that it’s the most common ones that people don’t know are killers…
Guests are forbidden from touching or tasting (obviously) any of the plants, but that didn’t stop seven people from passing out after inhaling some toxic fumes during the summer of 2014…
Hey… It’s not like they don’t warn you…
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