Have you ever wanted to take a walk on the wild side? It turns out you can take one of the most dangerous walks on the planet, all thanks to Alnwick castle, as it’s filled with the most dangerous plants in the world.
Finding Alnwick Castle
For some, they might feel as though they recognize Alnwick Castle. That’s because it was used as Hogwarts in the first two ‘Harry Potter’ movies, but the grounds have another secret lurking behind closed gates. If you want to enjoy the most dangerous plants in the world all in one place, you’ll need to travel to Northumberland, England. Here, visitors are greeted with black iron gates complete with skulls and crossbones to serve as a warning.
Creating the dangerous gardens
It might come as little surprise that visitors aren’t allowed to smell the plants. However, between 20 and 30 people enjoy Jane Percy’s work each year. She is the current Duchess of Northumberland and worked on bringing The Poison Garden to life. Jane explained to Mental Floss that she was tasked with bringing the neglected gardens back to life at the 11th-century castle and wanted to give the world something a little different.
Teaching people about the dangers
One of the main reasons Jane Percy decided to bring the most dangerous plants in the world together in one place is to teach people about the natural world – and how danger could be closer than it appears. After all, many of the plants, such as laurel, castor beans, and foxglove, can be found in several people’s yards. Jane also wants people to understand how each plant uses its own defenses to ensure it survives out there in the wild.
All the plants use different methods
Most living things have learned how to adapt when it comes to fighting off predators. However, plants are a little different. After all, they can’t move away from the danger, so what are they to do? That’s where toxic plants come in. Some of the plants interfere with neurotransmitters found in the brain, meaning vital organs might not receive the correct signals. Others have other dangerous effects on the body to ensure they don’t mess with the plant again.
Each plant has a different story
One of the best things about the plants in The Poison Garden is they all have a different story. After all, they draw in a selection of visitors who love to hear the history of them all. For example, the laurel plant was once used by children in the 19th century to trap insects in jars with the leaves, so they were preserved for display. Jane Percy says looking after the plants isn’t without its risks, though, as gardeners have to wear face masks, goggles, and gloves whenever they’re tending to the gardens.
It turns out Alnwick Castle is filled with the most dangerous plants in the world – and some people can’t get enough. The question is, are you brave enough to take a walk through a beautiful yet dangerous garden any time soon?