Most gardens are beautiful, peaceful, and welcoming. People have picnics in gardens, they tour them to see the various types of plant life, and you can usually touch every plant in the garden. There is one garden where you can’t enter. It is the Alnwick Garden. Also, it is popular as The Poison Garden.
The Poison Garden
This garden is so dangerous that the gardeners are not required to wear head-to-toe protection before going into the poison garden. The public can visit the garden, but they suggest not to touch any of the plant life. Even the entrance of the garden gives you a clue that it is a very dangerous place to visit. The gates are black iron, and there are a skull and crossbones on the gate. This is a straight out warning that the garden is very dangerous.
No Uncommon Plants
Considering how dangerous the plants in this garden are, you would expect that they were taken from the farthest corners of the earth and brought to the poison garden. This isn’t the case. The plants aren’t rare, they aren’t exotic, and they aren’t even that hard to find. There is a good chance that you have some of this garden’s shrubbery right in your backyard.
The Alnwick Castle
The Alnwick Garden is located in the Alnwick Castle. If you are a fan of movies and television, there is a good chance that you have seen the castle before. Over the years, it has been a location for the early Harry Potter film, The Philosopher’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets. It has also been seen in Downtown Abbey and Transformers: The Last Knight.
Tourist Attraction, The Poison Garden
The castle is more than just a movie set and active residence. It is also a tourist attraction. The castle is open every day from March through October. Visitors have the opportunity to dine in one of its cafes and restaurants or tour the State Rooms and their Italian Renaissance-inspired décor.
The greatest landscaper in history, Capability Brown, was responsible for designing the earliest version of the garden back in 1750. The first Duke of Northumberland was the one who commissioned the project. The third Duke chose to add 42 more acres. He was an avid plant collector who introduced many plants and fruits to the garden, and he chose them from all over the world. In 1995, Jane Percy inherited the title of Duchess of Northumberland. When she did, she took over the responsibility for the gardens. She was born Isobel Jane Richard in 1958, and at age 16, she met Lord Ralph Percy at a birthday party for his cousin. This meeting helped her decide to relocate to Oxford.
Having a Family
Over the next 11-years, the couple had four children, Lady Katie, Earl George, Lady Melissa, and Lord Max. For over ten years, the family lived happily in a farmhouse in Northumberland. Sadly, in 1995, Percy’s brother-in-law, Henry, the 11th Duke of Northumberland suddenly died. This meant that the family would have to move to the castle, and would be responsible for the castle and the grounds.
Unique and Interesting
When Jane took over the gardening duties, she decided to do something special and unique with it. She knew that if tourists were going to come, she was going to need to come up with something for them to see. She says that she is a duchess who defies formal traditions. Also, she practices martial arts and even hosts cage matches on the grounds. It was her less-than-formal attitude that gave her the idea for the garden.
Jane got her inspiration or the garden from a 474-year-old poison garden in Padua, Italy. It is called Orto Botanico di Padova. It is the oldest garden of its type, and Jane says that she has always been fascinated by it. This is why she wanted to create one of her own in the castle. She wanted her garden to be similar to the one in Italy, but she also wanted to add a few of her personal touches.
Jane’s Version Of The Poison Garden
Jane’s version is called the Poison Garden, and it is located behind massive iron gates. There is also a warning or guests that the plants inside can kill. Any guests who are willing to go past the iron gates are strongly advised not to touch or smell any of the plants. Inside the grounds of an ancient English castle lurks the world’s deadliest garden, and even the groundskeeper needs to be fully protected before going inside. If you are thinking about visiting the Poison Garden, enter at your own risk. The last thing that you want is to take a vacation to a luxurious castle, only to end up in the hospital due to being poisoned by a plant.