I was intrigued to visit The Poison Garden, a walled and gated part of Alnwick Castle gardens. The public are not allowed in unless on a guided tour, and are forbidden to touch or smell the plants, which surprisingly look like plants you could find in any cottage type garden.
All the ninety plus plants in the garden are deadly, some obvious ones such as belladonna or deadly nightshade. The name belladonna originated when used by Venetian ladies, because of the plant’s ability to beautify by making the pupils dilate.
And mandrake, with roots that can resemble human figures. Many things have been written about the plant and the folklore attached to it. Not least the thought it was supposed to scream when pulled from the ground and kill those who hear it.
There were many more plants that most people know including the foxglove, hemlock, poinsettia, mistletoe and oleander.
Many more not quite so obvious, to me anyway, such as fritillary
Some I was really surprised to learn are poisonous, such as snowdrop, lily of the valley and rosemary! Although apparently it would be impossible to eat enough rosemary to cause harm, misuse of the oil could cause problems during pregnancy. And daffodil bulbs which have sometimes be mistaken for onions with dire results, according to the guide.
Just outside the garden is the apothecary’s (or is it witches) hovel 😉 A very interesting, and quite scary, tour.