Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Garden Fit for Morticia!


Morticia Addams adores tending to her plants, whether it be snipping the pesky blooms off her roses, or feeding her beloved pet African Strangler, Cleopatra. Just recently, I became aware of a garden so delightfully Addams-worthy that it would surely bring a tear of joy to Morticia's eye.

Alnwick Castle  [Photo Source]


In the county of Northumberland, England, stands Alnwick Castle, the residence of the Duke of Northumberland. Attracting many visitors each year, the castle has long been used as a setting for film and television productions, and is perhaps best known as the stand-in for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films.

Gates of The Poison Garden  [Photo Source]


In land adjacent to the castle, Jane Percy, Duchess of Northumberland, has established a formal garden known as The Alnwick Garden. Inspired by a visit to a poison garden created by the notorious Medici family, in Padua, Italy, the duchess decided to include a similar touch of the charmingly macabre in her own landscaping plans.

Sign on Gates  [Photo Source]


The Poison Garden was opened in 2005, requiring 24 hour security and special licences from the British Home Office. It is filled with more than 100 deadly plants that produce either poisons like strychnine and hemlock or are narcotics like opium poppies, cannabis and magic mushrooms.

"I wondered why so many gardens around the world focused on the healing power of plants rather than their ability to kill... I felt that most children I knew would be more interested in hearing how a plant killed, how long it would take you to die if you ate it and how gruesome and painful the death might be."

Duchess of Northumberland

Seems the duchess is one fiendishly clever lady! I'm sure Morticia would thoroughly approve. You can find out more about The Poison Garden here.



46 comments:

  1. Oh goodness. I just might need to add a trip to this garden to my to-do list when I visit family in the UK next summer! Thanks for sharing, I had no idea this existed.

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    1. Hi Bronwyn,

      Oh, I bet you're looking forward to that trip to the UK next summer! The Poison Garden is definitely on my list of must-see destinations if I'm lucky enough to visit England again in the future. :)

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  2. I think it's funny that in my post I incidentally had a photo of my mother who looks remarkably like Carolyn Jones and the first thing I see is your post. We are on the same wavelength. Nice post!!!

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    1. Hi pensive,

      Of course we're on the same wavelength! :D I just popped over to your blog to check out the picture of your mother. She's lovely!

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  3. Awesome post Emma ~ just addedd this place to my "Must Visit" list.
    I love the gates and the spider detail.
    Excellent article
    D.

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    1. Hi Goth Clothes,

      Thank you! :) Yeah, the whole concept of the garden is so fabulous, but then, on top of that, you've got those utterly gorgeous gates!

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  4. Sounds like another day trip for me....

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    1. Hi Laury,

      You're so lucky that you're within "day trip" distance. I hope you get a chance to visit. :)

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  5. Wow, it sounds amazingly cool! I'll have to visit there someday!

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    1. Hi Chris!

      I wish we had one of those Star Trek transporter beams so we were able to just zap over there, from Oz, for our own day trip to The Poison Garden! :)

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  6. 1. Stand-in for Hogwarts; 2. Poison Garden; 3. Lost Cellar Tour. Thanks for the latest addition to the bucket list, Emma. ;o)

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    1. Hi Insomniac's Attic,

      Yes, the castle has plenty to offer all on its own. The Poison Garden is like a delicious, black cherry on top! :D

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  7. Oh my, that Duchess was spot on! Lovely iron gate as well.

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    1. Hi Ms Misantropia,

      Yes, I think the duchess is a pretty shrewd woman! I adore the gates! :)

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  8. I'm starting to love the Duchess of Northumberland! And the landscaping of the garden and castle is so dreamy. I wanna get there as soon as I have to moneyyyy xD ♥

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    1. Hi Minxie,

      Yes, the duchess sounds fabulous! I think she'd fit in very nicely in our little Blogland community. :) I'd love to visit Alnwick Castle too! Where's a big sack of spare cash when you need it, eh?! ;)

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  9. Well that beats the hell out of the usual display of roses.

    Ali

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  10. The Poison Garden is amazing, I visited once when I was a girl :)

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    1. Hi Alexandriaweb,

      Oooh, you lucky thing! I'm sure it was awesome! :)

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  11. I have studied the "toxic" plants and "bugs" of my area since early childhood... by age 9 ..I was hunting and capturing Black Widows ...
    Some rather nasty plant toxins ... and some poisonous amphibians too.

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    1. Hi Dr. Theda,

      Wow, that was a pretty dangerous hobby for a 9 year old! The Addams clan would be very impressed! ;)

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  12. Wow, I would love to meet the Duchess, my kind of lady. Great post!

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    1. Thank you, Seeing Things! Yep, the duchess is my kind of lady too!

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  13. That is so wicked! I love it! I am so in love with the gate, how gorgeous!

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    1. Hi Britnie,

      Yes, the gates are stunning! I'd love to have ironwork like that in my own garden.

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  14. That Garden is awesome. I would love to have one like that someday. :D

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    1. Hi Jenny,

      Yes, no home is truly complete without a poison garden! ;)

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  15. Really interesting reading! I loved to know about this garden, including it in my next travel/visits plans right now!

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    1. Hi Morrigan,

      Thank you! :) Yes, my "Must-See" destination list just keeps getting longer and longer! I seriously need to win the lottery! :)

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  16. This is a really interesting entry and you are correct, Morticia would be right at home in such a place. I suspect that she would enjoy the castle as well. The Duchess sounds like one interesting lady.

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    1. Thank you, Nightwind! The Addams Family always had a penchant for castle trappings like alligator-filled moats, suits of armour, dungeons and medieval torture devices, so I'm sure that Morticia would love the castle as well.

      Yes, the duchess sounds fabulous, doesn't she?! It's lucky she had both the means and the imagination to create something so darkly delightful.

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  17. The Poison Garden looks awesome! I would loooove to spend the day there and take pictures there!

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  18. That sounds so great! I've always planned to have my own poison garden at some point, but now I have a standard to hold it to!

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    1. Hi Maudlin Pixie,

      Yes, the duchess's garden will no doubt give you plenty of inspiration. :)

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  19. Oh I definitely agree with the duchess! Some children hate the nature and some children will eat anything that they can put in their mouths. My youngest ate everything! I was frightended that he would beleive the berries of the mezereon were red currants.

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    1. Hi linnea-maria,

      I know what you mean. Luckily, my son was always very cautious as a toddler, but I've heard of other little kids who will eat anything from kitty litter to cigarette butts. I think I'd have a nervous breakdown taking a child like that anywhere near a poison garden.

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  20. I love it and I know Morticia would love it too.

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  21. oh my goodness, what a amazingly Morticia-esque garden!! Damn, I was in England in 2005. I should have visited there.

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    1. Hi Maynard,

      I was in England in the nineties, which was, unfortunately, prior to the Poison Garden being established, but if I go back, it will definitely be on my travel itinerary. :)

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  22. I'm simultaneously dying to see it and afraid I'll die if I actually do see it! :-D

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    1. Hi Mina Lobo,

      Haha. I think the most dangerous plants are caged or behind glass, so hopefully you'd live to tell the tale. ;)

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  23. A poison garden?? That's pretty awesome! Not only Morticia, but I'm sure Poison Ivy, Batman's sexy villain, would love it too :) Certainly, not a place to take the dog for a walk, though.

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    1. Good one, Gabriel! I hadn't thought of Poison Ivy, which is strange because I'm a big Batman fan, but I could absolutely imagine her coveting the duchess's garden. :)

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