Alnwick Garden: The most poisonous garden in the world

Alnwick garden is one of the poison gardens in the world, the plants are so poisonous that they are in iron cages or behind barbed wire. “Poison garden! Do not touch, smell, or eat any plant,” the warning indicated.

You can only walk along the paths of this garden without straying from the route. It’s better not to even think about sniffing a flower or picking a berry. Some plants are so dangerous here that they are in special iron cages or behind barbed wire. Despite this, the poisonous garden located near Alnwick Castle in the UK attracts many more visitors than the usual park beauty.

Alnwick Castle is located in the north of England in Northumberland, near the southern borders of Scotland. The building itself is also very remarkable. The ancient building is the main residence of the Dukes of Northumberland and dates back to the 11th century. Today, the castle is the main attraction of the county. By the way, we can see the medieval walls and interiors of this place in some scenes of the films about “Harry Potter”, “Ivanhoe” and in one of the seasons of “Downton Abbey”.

The beautiful extensive garden has also always been a part of the old castle ensemble, although it was abandoned during some periods of history and was used as agricultural land during the hungry years of World War II. At the end of the 20th century, the Duchess of Northumberland made a lot of efforts to revive the old park, and after the reconstruction for 42 million pounds, the garden began to receive visitors again. True, it did not gain incredible popularity – neither artificial waterfalls, nor fountains, nor even a “treehouse” with an area of 560 m did not help. There are enough such garden and park entertainment not only in England.

But the “Poison Garden”, which opened on the park’s territory a little later, immediately attracted massive attention to Alnwick. Today, as polls show, most tourists come here just to visit this section of the park. The dangerous farm was created in 2005 and has flourished since then – both literally and figuratively.

Numerous signs in the Poison Garden warn visitors of the danger
Numerous signs in the Poison Garden warn visitors of the danger

As the name implies, only poisonous plants are planted in the garden. The collection of dangerous botany here is really remarkable: Chilybukha, Spotted hemlock, Castor oil plant, Foxglove, Belladonna, Brugmansia, Bean, and many other plants. Some, the most dangerous specimens, are even closed in special iron cages with warnings: Touching is life-threatening! Or “Keep off the grass”.

In the garden, there are also plantations of cannabis, coca, and poppy for sleeping pills. Excursions for anti-drug education are brought here, no matter how strange it may seem.

Conceiving such an unusual garden, the Duchess of Northumberland was inspired by old models. It is known that in the Italian Padua of the 16th century, a special Medici garden was laid out – there, the famous poisoners grew the most dangerous plants. At first, some medicinal samples also grew in the English garden, but then this department of the park decided to specialize only in poisons.

Poison garden at Alnwick castle, UK
Poison garden at Alnwick castle, UK

Tourists and travelers visiting the “Poison Garden” are allowed here under the supervision of a special guide who carefully monitors that no one touches the plants. Of course, this place is under round-the-clock surveillance, and some of the “beds” are even surrounded by barbed wire. During the excursion, tourists are told a detailed lecture, mostly devoted to drugs and what danger they can pose.

Palace and park ensembles are always important historical sights. Often unusual stories are connected with them. So, for example, the eccentric king of Bavaria built his own Versailles and accidentally became a fighter for the protection of nature.

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