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article imageEnter if you dare: The Poison Garden of deadly plants in Alnwick

By Kirstin Stokes Smith     Aug 14, 2013 in World
Alnwick - An iron gate at the entrance of The Poison Garden in Alnwick hosts a warning sign, complete with scull and crossbones. Part tongue-in-cheek, part warning the sign reads "These plants can kill".
Inspired by a visit to a poison garden of Padua, Italy, the Duchess of Northumberland, Jane Miller Percy, returned to Alnwick with a plan to create a poison garden of her own. Ten years ago the site of The Alnwick Garden was derelict, now her garden hosts over 800,000 visitors annually, reports The Telegraph.
The Poison Garden is located among 14 acres of green space which are populated with sculptures, a cherry orchard, a bamboo labyrinth, an ornamental garden and a massive tree house. There are about 100 deadly plants in the garden as well as a few narcotics. In addition to poisonous plant life, the duchess grows marijuana (cannabis), cocaine (poppies), tobacco and magic mushrooms, for which she has a licence to grow. The plants that have the power to kill or sicken through as little as a sniff or a touch are caged and each night the garden, which is under 24-hour surveillance, is locked down, reports Slate.
Since its opening in 2004, The Poison Garden of Alnwick has inspired a series of children's books, appropriately titled, The Poison Diaries, by Maryrose Wood. The first book in the series was published in 2010 by Balzer & Bray, a HarperCollins imprint.
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