The attraction of a garden comes from the sights and scents of the flowers and shrubs it contains. Enjoying the fragrance of the flowers is a large part of visiting a garden. One garden which gives strict instructions that you should not stop and smell is the Poison Garden at Alnwick in the north of England. Many people do not realize just how poisonous certain common plants are. Although you would be unlikely to try eating a laurel leaf, just the smell can affect you as this article by Natasha Geiling explains.
The Alnwick Garden is one of north England’s most beautiful attractions, where?acres of colorful plants invite visitors to wander through rows of fragrant roses, manicured topiaries and cascading fountains. But within Alnwick’s boundaries, kept behind black iron gates, is a place where?visitors are explicitly told?not to?stop and smell the flowers: the Poison Garden,?home to?100 infamous killers.
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 reimagine 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.'”