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Who Built the Alnwick Poison Garden and For What Purpose?

When most people think about creating a garden, they have goals of filling it with sweet smelling flowers that are pleasant to the eye. The Alnwick Garden is one of the most beautiful gardens not only in England, but also in the world. The Alnwick Garden has a secret behind black wrought iron gates - a poisonous garden. At the entrance of the gates, there is a warning that you should not smell the flowers because they could kill you.

The Alnwick Poison Garden

The gardens are home to 100 poisonous plants thanks to Jane Percy, who after becoming the Duchess of Northumberland in 1995, embarked on a mission to make Alnwick Castle and its grounds – 14 acres in total – a tourist attraction. Northumberland is a county that borders Scotland. Her husband asked her to do something with the land, which at the time was covered with endless rows of Christmas trees. She hired Jacques Wirtz, a renowned landscape architect responsible for the gardens at the French president’s residence as well as the Tuileries in Paris.

Jane Percy had a vision of making the garden unique and different from the many that dot England’s rural landscapes. She had her sights on an apothecary garden, but a visit to the Medici poison garden in Italy created doubts in her mind. Another visit to the archeological site of the largest hospital in medieval Scotland ingrained in her a desire to create a garden of poisonous plants.

While the do not smell sign is clearly visible, most visitors fail to heed the warning. During the past summer, 7 people fell unconscious after inhaling the toxic fumes from the plants and flowers in the poison garden. The Duchess’ favorite plant is angel’s trumpet – Burgmansia, which grows wild n South America. It has amazing aphrodisiac properties before it kills you. The garden has over 60,000 visitors a year.

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