Royal Dutches Built the World’s Most Dangerous Garden

Andrei Tapalaga

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Entrance to the Poison Garden that warns every visitor of the risks lurking behind the iron gatesWikimedia Commons/ Public Domain

The saying “curiosity killed the cat” goes very well in defining curiosity in general, especially in describing the psychological phenomenon of being attracted by danger. Common logic of the human mind would tell people to stay away from a place that can kill them, but the human mind is more complicated and it is enticed by curiosity to discover, even if it may be the last.

Alnwick Garden, commonly known as Poison Garden around the world, is considered to be the most poisonous garden in the world, holding over 100 species of exotic plants from around the globe that have the capability to kill a horse.

Even the signs for those that dare to enter the poisonous garden describe that all visitors are prohibited from smelling, touching, or tasting any of the plants. They even mention that some visitors who are more sensible tend to faint from inhaling toxic fumes.

“The Alnwick Garden plays host to the small but deadly Poison Garden — filled exclusively with around 100 toxic, intoxicating, and narcotic plants. The boundaries of the Poison Garden are kept behind black iron gates, only open on guided tours. Visitors are strictly prohibited from smelling, touching, or tasting any plants, although some people still occasionally faint from inhaling toxic fumes while walking in the garden.” (Info taken from The Alnwick Garden website)

Some people may question, what diabolic mind created this garden? In 1995, Jane Percy the new Duchess of Northumberland (a county in northeastern England that stretches to the border with Scotland). With this title, she also received the Alnwick Castle. Her husband had a desire to reinstate the royal garden, which at the time was a disused commercial foresty boasting rows and rows of Christmas trees.

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The Duchess of Northumberland, Jane Percy, officiating at a Battle of Britain parade in Alnwick on 16 September 2018Wikimedia Commons/ Public Domain

The dutches did not only want to rebuild the royal garden, but she wanted to create the most unique garden in the world. That is why she hired a team of the best gardeners in the world, including Jacques Wirtz, a landscape architect who has worked with the Tuileries in Paris.

Most people when they think of plants, they think of healing as most medicine is created from plants, but the Dutches wanted a garden of plants that could kill instead of heal. She wanted to attract children to spend more time in nature with a garden that could potentially kill them.

“I thought, ‘This is a way to interest children. 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.” (Quote by Dutches Jane Percy)

With this inclination to educate children, the Dutches even decided to grow a variety of drugs, from cocaine to cannabis. Not only is her royal highness growing drugs, but she also teaches kids about them.

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