A stroll through a stately and well-manicured English garden sounds absolutely divine doesn’t it? The bright sun, the buzzing bees, the budding flowers, the Brugmansia plants that cause migraine headaches, dry mouth, diarrhea, hallucinations, and rapid-onset eye paralysis before finally killing you in a “ terrifying” way. No, wait… that would be a walk through Alnwick Castle’s “Poison Garden”: a.k.a. the deadliest garden on Earth.
Great Big Story, a New York-based “video network dedicated to the untold, the overlooked and the flat-out amazing” recently took a tour of Alnwick’s Poison Garden led by, apparently, the British Walter White. (Which totally makes sense considering what that man could do with a little Lily of the Valley.) What they found behind gates adorned with big skulls and crossbones and warnings that read “THESE PLANTS CAN KILL,” was everything from foxglove—which can kill you—to Strychnos nux-vomica—which can also definitely kill you.
The Poison Garden was added to Alnwick’s other gardens in 2005, and is the brainchild of the Duchess of Northumberland. The Duchess told the Smithsonian that she thought about adding an apothecary’s garden at first, but then settled on the exact opposite concept believing that it would engage children more to learn about poison, sickness, and death. Also, for good measure, she has included good ol’ cannabis and cocoa plants, because if you can’t hook ’em with learning about horrid eye paralysis-death, then you may as well try a couple of lessons about weed and cocaine.
One of the most stunning facts that Trevor Jones, the Head Gardener and Walter White lookalike, points out in the video is the fact that these poisonous plants are “very very common plants… and a lot of them are grown in many people’s gardens.” So the next time you spot somebody tending their plot and think oh how quaint, remember: Brugmansia.
What did you think was most memorable about this tour through the deadliest garden on Earth? Did you love that plant that could kill you, or that other plant that could really kill you? Let us know in the comments below!
Images: Great Big Story