This could be the deadliest garden in the world. The rules are that if you visit, you are not allowed to smell, touch or taste any plants. But you risk passing out from the toxic fumes, at least that’s what the website says.
This is called The Poisonous Garden and it is a small attraction of living plants in the land of the beautiful Alnwick Garden located in Northumberland, England.
Fortified with large iron gates and a skull and crossbones warning, this terrain contains 100 would-be organic killers that come in a variety of colors.
Whose idea was it to cultivate such a toxic environment? That distinction belongs to him Duchess of Northumberland, Jane Percy, who inherited a castle after the death of her husband’s brother. The sprawling estate also included a large garden. At first, she envisioned a paradise of roses and other fairly harmless flora, but a trip to Italy motivated her to do something morbid.
Inspired by the Medici poison garden in Italy, the duchess decided that the example was just what her garden needed to set it apart from others. On another trip to Scotland, she was determined. She learned about how certain poisonous plants such as opium and hemlock were used to anesthetize patients before surgery.
“I thought, ‘This is a way to get kids interested,'” she said said Smithsonian Magazine. “Kids don’t care that aspirin comes from tree bark. What’s really interesting is knowing how a plant kills you and how the patient dies and how you feel before you die.”
One of her favorite varieties is angel’s trumpett which is part of the deadly shadow family. “It’s an amazing aphrodisiac before it kills you,” says the duchess, noting that some Victorian ladies would put a bit of the flower’s pollen in their teat to get an LSD-like high.
“[Angel’s trumpet] it’s an amazing way to die because it’s pretty painless,” says the Duchess. “A great killer is usually an incredible aphrodisiac.”
Alnwick Gardens isn’t just full of malevolent plants. It also has a harmless rose garden, a gazebo, a grand waterfall and an ornamental garden.
From deadly guts to hemlock, the only way a plant can take root in this garden is if it’s lethal to humans. This is a garden where you won’t want to stop and smell the flowers.