The Poison Garden of Alnwick

Sometimes I go to a place and I tell stories. But occasionally, I go somewhere and find
not just stories but a really good storyteller. In the grounds of Alnwick Castle,
in the north of England, is Alnwick Garden. It’s not quite as old as the castle, that’s been here about 900 years or so, but it is just as impressive. Inside is one of the world’s
largest wooden treehouses, beautiful water features and also… this. The slightly less conventional
Alnwick Poison Garden. Welcome to the Poison Garden. All the plants in here
have the ability to kill you, so you’re not allowed to touch or smell
or stand too close to them. This is Ricinus communis and you can see that it has
very architectural leaves, but the issue with it is that you can, under laboratory environments,
take out ricin. Ricin is the deadliest poison known to man. Here we have Atropa belladonna, deadly nightshade, a native plant to the UK. These flowers that you can see here will produce a black grape-like berry. Four of those berries
are enough to kill a child. Very toxic indeed. In Italy, especially around Venice, the ladies used to squeeze the berries to
get the juice and then use the juice to put in their eyes to dilate their pupils to make them look more
attractive to gentlemen. Because it’s toxic, slowly you start to
lose your vision. What you do for vanity. Ruta graveolens, again, a very common plant that you can actually buy from garden centres,
yet it is phototoxic which means that if you
get the sap onto your hands, then in bright sunlight
your skin will start to blister. Once that chemical is in your system, it will stay in that system
for up to seven years. Now, we had a senior gardener
who came into the Poison Garden and happened to see a weed
growing out of this plant, so without putting her gloves on
she took the weed out. Within an hour, she started to form
blisters on her hand and she ended up with third degree burns. This plant is called Aconitum napellus. It’s very common. It’s often called monkshood. The whole of the plant is very toxic. Two years ago, there was a head gardener
down in Surrey who unfortunately was working with this plant and he died a few days later, and they put that down to
the toxins from the plant. Here we have a very common plant again. This is laurel, used often as hedging. The issue with laurel is that
it will produce cyanide and in fact, Victorians used to use
leaves of these plants. Cut in two, popped in a jam-jar
with the butterflies that they’d captured, screw on the lid and the
butterfly would die naturally because of the cyanide poisoning. Now, this plant you can buy from garden centres, a very common pot plant, it’s called Brugmansia and the whole of the plant is toxic. It’s often called the Angel’s Trumpet. It’s an hallucinogenic plant so you can
use it in all sorts of ways. In fact, Victorian ladies would grow the Brugmansia
on their tea tables and then invite ladies around
for afternoon tea. What they would then do is in the tea pot, shake some of the pollen
which would go into the tea and then the ladies would to start to
loosen their tongue slightly and talk about all sorts of nonsense. We have a licence from the Home Office
to grow cannabis. So we have it here in a cage. Obviously, it’s a Class C drug. We use this plant to start
to introduce to children all about the harmful effects of drugs. This is Henbane. It produces very peculiar flowers that give off a very pungent scent. The scent is so strong that often here we
get people collapsing, that’s why we’ve got the bench
next to the wall. Mandragora, or Mandrake
as it’s commonly known, a very popular plant now because of the
Harry Potter phenomenon. The whole of the plant is poisonous. Historically, people used to think that there
was a live little man underneath the plant,
because if you dug the plant up, the actual tap root would often have
two little legs and a little arm and so people imagined
that it was the devil himself. Often people said they could hear the plant
screaming as it was pulled up, and so a lot of myth and legend
grew up around the Mandrake. The Duchess of Northumberland is the inspiration
of the whole of this garden. When she became Duchess, she had a vision to create a modern, contemporary garden that
would educate visitors. So the Duchess then realised: children especially
don’t want to listen to talks on herb gardens
because they switch off. If you can tell them that the plants
are actually poisonous and have the ability to kill you, then you have the imagination of that child. Thank you very much to all the team at
Alnwick Garden, and to Trevor in particular! If you want to know more about the gardens
or the castle, pull down the description.

100 thoughts on “The Poison Garden of Alnwick

  1. My word, there are a lot of pro-marijuana people in the comments. Just to be clear: it's in a cage because British law requires it to be. The khat they grow is too, but not the opium poppies – but because those were just tiny shoots when I was there, they didn't make the edit. And yes, "poison" is a bit strong, but for anyone who's convinced there are no dangers to cannabis, I refer you to Foreman, JE (2000) — although of course, that's worth comparing with his later 2014 work for balance.

  2. 0:28 , 3:03 No one has ever died from smoking a joint. Lots of people have died from alcohol but kids are taught that they have that to look forward to and encouraged to drink later in life…. Dangers of drugs? Hypocrites. Also those plants are dead. and grown outside. The only thing your going to get if you stole/smoked that is a headache. Plus u can get it without issues from old mate down the road.

  3. Cannabis but no yeast fungi or barely. Poppy, Psilocybin mushroom.
    Is there more to this garden or is that everything?

  4. "Keep off the grass" has a whole new meaning now.

    Also love how cannabis is in a cage but not the rest of the deadly plants.(i know they are required to keep them in a cage but still)

  5. Idc about the weed being in a cage, but putting it with lethal plants as education and saying "Look all these are deadly af "

    Thats just wrong

  6. So , the plant that will give you third degree burns or the others plants that can kill you are in the open but the cannabis plant that is the least harmful is locked in a cage ?
    Why are we that stupid ? What is going to happen if I will touch a cannabis plant ?

  7. Do they have tobacco in this shity ass poisonous Garden? Anything with caffeine? Don't take your kids to this s*** hole they propagate lies

  8. Visited Alnwick Garden today. Didn't actually go to the poison garden but I did get to see the fountain and treehouse (both really marvellous creations). May go back soon to take a look around the poison garden soon, as I am on holiday really nearby!

  9. In Puerto Rico, Brugmansia grows wild in the mountains. There's people that drink tea made out the flowers. It's known as "Te de campana" or "bell tea" because of the bell shaped flower that faces down. Some people get high on it and use it as a recreational drug. It's a known myth in the island that if you consume a bigger amount than what you're supposed to, you will never be the same.

  10. that cyanide one is close to where i live ahah. i pick the leaves off when im walking bye ahh. either that or it looks incredibly similar

    im guessing that Bay Laurel is a different plant then because…. "Laurus nobilis is an aromatic evergreen tree or large shrub with green, glabrous leaves, in the flowering plant family Lauraceae. It is native to the Mediterranean region and is used as bay leaf for seasoning in cooking". its its got cyanide, i dont think cooking is the best case

  11. My friend used to have an awesome Angel Trumpet plant in his yard. Shame we never knew about the hallucinogenic properties, that could have been fun.

  12. I think it’s funny that they have plants that can like literally kill people just out in the open but weed in a cage😂 although I do understand it’s most likely the only way they’d be able to have it there and be able to teach people about it.

  13. Surprised they didn't have what is probably the most toxic plant on Earth, a tree native to Florida which can't be cut or burnt without heavy-duty respirators because it releases poison gas.

  14. I literally started laughing when they went to the weed and it’s an a cage… people smoke it everyday and is legal in many countries and US states for recreational lmao

  15. Interesting video until it got to the point where they have Cannabis to lecture children about “the dangers of drugs”

    The U.K. imported the U.S.’s war on drugs nonsense

  16. Canabis a poison now? Since when?
    Maybe I had better start researching because I was of the mind it was a lifesaver.
    I could be wrong.

  17. Why on earth would you want to work there, holy crap. Especially when you can name several examples of predecessors that popped off. Eek

  18. You put cannabis in a garden where every plant can kill you. You did a great job because everyone knows when you take a hit from the bong you're life goes wrong.
    Wtf is wrong with you guys

  19. Out of all the drugs in the world you use one of the potentially most helpful for subduing seizures, acting as a painkiller for chronic diseases and other medical purposes. 🧐🥴

  20. Why is cannabis in there? I doubt there's a single person in human history who has died of cannabis poisoning, it just reinforces the lies we tell children about it which I think is actually very dangerous. When children realise you were lying to them about cannabis being poison they will assume you were lying about everything else too, which in the case of something like the brugmansia/datura you really don't want them to think you're lying about how toxic they are

  21. Liked this video but cut it off when you started shitting on cannabis. UNACCEPTABLE for 2019. Save that attitude for 1919… oh wait it was legal from then back to the beginning of time wasnt it?

  22. The only benign plant was in an extra cage, because…"myth and legend".

    Seriously? A gardener died from one in the open. Ludicrous.

  23. Weed in a poison garden , typical know nothing twats, weak minded people are the cause of drug use NOT the drugs .

  24. What a pleasure to hear someone from outside the area pronounce Alnwick properly. I cannot count the number of times I have heard tell of the mythical town of Alanwick.

  25. Sorry but attitudes need to change where cannabis is concerned. Yes I agree people misuse the plant, but people misuse everything not just cannabis. Our schools teach children that its bad and serves no good purpose. But the reality is it does more good than bad, and helps people with lots of severe medical problems.

  26. Pfft if I was in charge of that garden idea be lethal.i certainly would grow a better cannabis than that.they could at least use a decent strain rather than bloody hemp

  27. I'm actually surprised and confused that the cannabis, arguably the least harmful plant in there, is the only one that's in any way fenced off in the entire garden. I'm assuming its down to the likelihood that they would be stolen :'D

  28. Alnwick garden: has the worlds deadliest poison plant merely in a bush pushed off to the side

    Also Alnwick garden: has weed in a whole ass cage

  29. cannabis is not dangerous you bald headed prick eat every single plant in the garden mate it will help you sleep very well please do it sire its very tasty

  30. Cannabis doesn’t really fit the requirements to be in the “poison garden” bc although it’s true anything can kill you in a large enough encounter of ingestion, cannabis is very non lethal

  31. lmao if they wanted to grow a plant to showcase the harmful effect of drugs they should have planted poppies, coca, or tobacco

  32. So plants that literally burn and or kill you, that you could actually fall into or accidently touch all out in the open but cannabis is in a cage?!?!? Wtf kinda bullsh*t is that, British law needs a checking. Laughable!

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