This secret English garden houses 100 poisonous plants that have made visitors pass out

A stunning botanical garden famous for its beautiful floral displays is housing a macabre secret.

Past the meandering walkways and colourful blooms The Alnwick Garden has a garden that’s fenced off and barricaded away – and only accessible by appointment.

Tucked away behind huge black iron gates  and under lock and key lies some of the most deadliest species of plants known to mankind.

Aptly dubbed the Poison Garden, it boasts some of the most beautiful but most lethal flowers on the planet – and can even cause people to pass out if they get too close.

Filled with around 100 toxic and narcotic plants, the most dangerous are kept in cages to keep those touring the garden safe from harm.

a sign over a metal fence: The gates bear a stark warning to visitors

© Steve F | Wikimedia
The gates bear a stark warning to visitors

A warning on the Alnwick Garden website states: “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.

“A combination of dark, ivy-covered tunnels and flame-shaped beds creates an educational garden full of interest and intrigue, where the most dangerous plants are kept within giant cages.”

Speaking during a virtual tour, Trevor Jones, head gardener, described the dangers of the plants housed in the Poison Garden. He said: “Datura will put you to sleep, forever.”

“Aconitine will kill you.

“Laurel will produce cyanide… and we all know what that does to you.”

“Atropa Belladona – just four berries are enough to kill a child.

“Every plant here in the garden is poisonous and has the ability to kill you.

Describing some of the other inhabitants of the garden, he added: “Giant hogweed will get up to around about eight foot high and it’s phytotoxic – so it will burn your skin and give you blisters for up to seven years.

“Aconitine, or monkshood, has wonderful blue flowers, but the whole of the plant is poisonous.

“The berries, crushed up and fed to you, will kill you.

“The leaves themselves will kill you also, as will the root and stem.”

a vase filled with purple flowers: Beautiful but deadly - Monkshood flower species Aconitum napellus

© Shared Content Unit
Beautiful but deadly – Monkshood flower species Aconitum napellus

The plant is so dangerous, that in 2010 Aconitine seeds – also known as the Queen of Poisons – were used by a spurned woman to poison her lover after he married someone else.

While another plant growing in the dark garden, Angel’s Trumpet, causes confusion, delirium followed by hallucinations, drowsiness and coma when ingested.

And if the seed coat of the resident Ricinus Cominis injected or inhaled it causes all internal organs to shut down resulting in death within six days.

Despite the dangers, the garden has to be maintained, and the gardeners have a strict protocol in place to manage the macabre patch – which involves covering their skin when tending to the plants.

a garden with water in the background: Some of the deadliest plants are in cages

© Humphrey Bolton |
Some of the deadliest plants are in cages

The garden itself is set in the old walled

Read more

Dear Annie: Lake house owner makes a distinction between ‘visitors’ and ‘vacationers’

Dear Annie: My husband and I are 77 years old. Our lake home has four bedrooms and plenty of space for family visits. During the summer, the family knows they have to make “reservations” to visit. Sometimes, we will have seven immediate family members here, and once we had 18 nephews and nieces and their families. They have use of our boats and always replace the gas they used. We feel fortunate that we can allow them to have a family vacation that is relatively inexpensive for them. Many have thanked us for the memories they have made over the past 20 years.

However, we plan several breakfasts and lunches and most evening meals. All but one family will bring extra food, including snacks and their own drinks (we never know what everyone wants). Some will cook an evening meal for us while they are here. All groups will treat us to an evening meal at a local restaurant. One family also leaves us gift certificates to local businesses. We do ask that they change the beds before they leave for the next group of visitors. All are willingly do this.

We never expect all the help, but it is greatly appreciated. When one adds up the cost of extra food, disposable cups and plates and utilities for 10 weeks a year, it can be expensive.

Over the years, we have learned there are two kinds of guests: visitors and vacationers. Visitors come to see us, enjoy the lake and surroundings and help in any way they can to make their visit easier and more enjoyable for us. Vacationers are those who come to our “hotel” and restaurant and expect to be waited on while they are here. Needless to say, we don’t have “vacationers” more than once. — Visitors and Vacationers

Dear Visitors and Vacationers: I love your classification of guests as visitors and vacationers. I would take it a step farther and say that most people fall into two categories — those who are considerate of others and how they are feeling, and those who have a sense of entitlement and a lack of gratitude.

Want to know a secret? The considerate ones, the visitors, are happier people.

Dear Annie: I married a man with a son from his first marriage, who was 12 years old when we started dating. What really attracted me to my husband was the fact that he and his ex-wife were wonderful co-parents. As far as I knew, they were never mean, cruel or vindictive to each other, and it was quite apparent that they both loved their son (my stepson).

His ex was always included in family gatherings and my in-laws provided childcare for their grandson while his mother worked weekends as a nurse at the hospital. My stepson grew up knowing that he had an extended loving family. He had his mother’s family, his father’s family and my family who all welcomed and supported him. My stepson came to our state

Read more