There is a beautiful garden at England’s Alnwick Garden, though you may never want to step inside. It is filled with plants that could kill you it is known as the most dangerous garden on Earth. Funnily it is still known as being one of England’s most visually stunning attractions.
Acres of colorful plants invite visitors to walk around rows after rows of fragrant roses and manicured topiaries and there are even cascading fountains. Yes, Alnwick Gardens is one of England’s most beautiful spots, but deep in its depth hidden behind iron locked gates is a place where visitors are told never to smell the flowers. This is the Poison Garden, which is home to over 100 killer plants.
In 1995 Jane Percy became the Duchess of Northumberland and took over the Alnwick Castle which was the traditional seat of Northumberland royalty. She was asked to do something with the properties gardens which at the name were just commercial forestry, with rows after rows of Christmas trees. And this task grew into the beautiful Alnwick Gardens, she hired Jacques Wirtz a landscape architect, who reimagined the 14 acres completely. Today it attracts over 600,000 tourist visitors per year.
She also wanted to do something completely different and was veering towards an apothecary garden when after a trip to Italy she set her sights on having a poison garden included also. This was after visiting the infamous Medici poison garden, which made her obsessed with having a garden of plants that could kill you and not heal you. She then learned about plants like henbane, opium, and hemlock being used in medieval Scotland to numb the pain of amputees – this furthered her resolve to create a garden of lethal plants.
And so the poison garden was born! The only requirement was that the plant had to tell a good story, which meant exotic killers from South America would also be growing next to the common poisonous plants of Europe. Even with the guidelines of not smelling the plants and to keep moving, several visitors fainted from inhaling toxic fumes while walking through the garden.