Have you ever been somewhere where every LIVING organism was able to take you out in a moments notice? The thing about it is that this place isn’t full of dangerous weapons and things of that nature, it’s full of plants.
Yes, it”s a garden filled with deadly species that could kill a human in no time at all. Now why would someone want a garden like that in a place visited by a lot of people? That’s a good question, but the real answer is the beauty and mystery behind many of these plants. The place looks like an awesome place to go, but just don’t take small children or anyone who is a touchy feely type of person.
The place this crazy garden is located at is in England, and the name of the garden is called the Alnwick Garden. There are over 100 species of poisonous plants that are extremely hazardous to humans.
In 1995, Jane Percy became the Duchess of Northumberland, a county in northeastern England that stretches to the border with Scotland, after her husband’s brother died unexpectedly. With the title came the Alnwick Castle, the traditional seat of the Duke of Northumberland (it also served as the setting for Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter films). After the family took up residence in the castle, Percy’s husband asked her to do something with the gardens, which at the time were a disused commercial forestry boasting nothing more than rows and rows of Christmas trees.
“I think he thought, ‘That will keep her quiet, she’ll just plant a few roses and that’ll be it,'” the duchess says. But Percy did more than plant a few roses. In 1996, she hired Jacques Wirtz, a landscape architect who has worked with the Tuileries in Paris and the gardens of the French president’s residence, to help re-imagine the Alnwick Garden. Today, the gardens encompass 14 acres and attract over 600,000 visitors each year, making them one of North England’s most popular tourist attractions.
“I realized I could do something really great if I had the right team,”says the duchess. But she knew she needed more than a good team—she needed something to set her project apart from the other gardens that dot the English countryside. “If you’re building something, especially a visitor attraction, it needs to be something really unique,” she says. “One of the things I hate in this day and age is the standardization of everything. I thought, ‘Let’s try and do something really different.'”
The duchess thought she might want to include an apothecary garden, but a trip to Italy set her on a slightly different course. After visiting the infamous Medici poison garden, the duchess became enthralled with the idea of creating a garden of plants that could kill instead of heal. Another trip—this one to the archeological site of the largest hospital in medieval Scotland, where the duchess learned about soporific sponges soaked in henbane, opium and hemlock used to anesthetize amputees during 15th-century surgeries—reinforced her interest in creating a garden of lethal plants.