poison gardens

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The Poison Garden

Established in 2005 by the Duchess of Northumberland. The garden contains over 100 deadly and hallucinogenic plants. 

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.’

-The Duchess of Northumberland 

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Alnwick Poison Gardens. The gardens were established in 2005 by the Duchess of Northumberland who’s affinity for the apothecary gardens inspired the collection of nearly 100 deadly and hallucinogenic plants.

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From the front door of the glass-walled gift shop at the Alnwick Garden in the far northeast of England, the scene looks innocent enough. A sapphire green English lawn slopes gently downward, toward traditional, ornamental gardens of rose and bamboo. Across the small valley, water cascades down a terraced fountain.

But a hundred or so plantings kept behind bars in this castle’s garden are more menacing — and have much to tell visitors about poison and the evolutionary roots of medicine.

“These Plants Can Kill” warn two signs on a locked, iron gate that’s also marked with a skull and crossbones.

The Duchess of Northumberland (aka Jane Percy) started the Poison Garden in 2005 as part of the 12-acre, elaborate garden on the grounds of her family’s home, Alnwick Castle.

Many of England’s cities and towns have apothecary gardens — historical plots containing plants turned into treatments centuries ago by doctors, herbalists, religious folks and shamans. Most such gardens exist today to teach visitors about the history of medicine.

Welcome To The Poison Garden: Medicine’s Medieval Roots

Photos: Joanne Silberner for NPR

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The Alnwick Poison Garden is a gated garden located inside The Alnwick Garden adjacent to Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, England. This gated garden features a number of intoxicating and poisonous plants, such as nux vomica, the source of strychnine. This poison is often used to kill small mammals but has also been used by a number of murderers. The garden consists of approximately 100 deadly plants and has a number of warning signs to not touch or even small the plants, with the majority being caged.

March is coming up soon, its time to share the Mogeko March Calendar! We would like to apologize again for the lateness of the calendar, however we do hope you enjoy!

  1. Obsolete Dream
  2. Ice Scream
  3. Poison Bugs
  4. Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea
  5. The Gray Garden
  6. Mogeko Castle
  7. Favorite Character from an upcoming series
  8. Favorite Character Not From A Title
  9. Favorite Main Character
  10. Favorite Villain
  11. Favorite God
  12. Favorite Devil
  13. Favorite Angel
  14. Favorite Demon
  15. Favorite Witch
  16. Favorite Familiar
  17. Favorite Human character
  18. Favorite Couple
  19. Favorite OT3 (can be romantic or platinic)
  20. Favorite Brotp
  21. Favorite Family
  22. Favorite character in Monochrome
  23. Favorite Cool Design
  24. Favorite Cute Design
  25. Alternative Universe (Au)
  26. Scene Redraw
  27. Species Swap (Ex: Shark Wadanohara and Witch Samekichi)
  28. Color Palette Swap
  29. Clothing Swap
  30. Mogeko Series Cross Over
  31. All Time Favorite Character

If you have any other questions in regards to the calendar, please let us know!

Gotham Rogues, a summary:

Joker: Edgy™
Harley Quinn: a better version of Edgy™
Poison Ivy: lesbian gardener
Catwoman: better than you
The Riddler: gay question mark
Mad Hatter: if emo was a person
Two-Face: it’s not a phase!!!
Scarecrow: spooky scary skeletons
Killer Croc: nice lizard man
Bane: do you even lift, bro
Penguin: i said a bird bird bird is the word
Deadshot: bang bang bitch
Mr. Freeze: deserved better
Clayface: dramatic pile of mush
Hush: white privilege

An Introduction to Growing Poisonous Plants

As a blog focused mostly on Witchcraft, I usually get asks and messages from people interested in that area of my knowledge. However I’m also a herbalist and a moderately keen gardener, and so I occasionally get people asking for that. In this instance, a user messaged me asking for advice on how to start growing plants, and she specified that she’s most interested in poisonous species. So here’s a post for you, and for all of the other beginner herbalists, Witches, gardeners or simply people who like poisonous things!


1) The key word is plants

All vascular plants, irrespective of their toxicity, habitat or traits, share between them traits that are common to all plants everywhere. These are mostly:

  1. They need sunlight.
  2. They need water.
  3. They need food.
  4. They need carbon dioxide and oxygen from the air
  5. They need to breed

The quantities of each, the proportion of each, and the types of each may vary wildly, but ALL plants need ALL five of them. Some plants have evolved some rather interesting mechanisms to obtain them, but if you don’t provide them with at least the first four (the last one is, in captivity, less important for most plants) they will not survive. Learn what requirements your chosen species require. Do they need dappled sun or full sun? Is tapwater acceptable or must they only be given rainwater? What foods do they need in their soil? Make sure you provide them!


2) Poisonous plants are poisonous!

I know, I know, it seems obvious but then again so did “don’t smoke in the fireworks factory” and some bright spark still went and did that. Remember that if you are specifically growing a species that is poisonous, it may well require specialist treatments to safely grow and tend. Oleander is a common ornamental species, but all parts of it are potentially very poisonous and so it should only be pruned wearing long sleeves and gloves. Foxgloves are beautiful biennials but they also contain the lethal poison digitalis, used as a heart medicine in very, VERY precise dosages, and so they must be kept away from fires of any kind. 

Research CAREFULLY what kind of poisons your plants produce and make very certain to familiarise yourself with:

  • Preventative methods to avoid exposure
  • Symptoms of accidental poisoning
  • Your local poisons hotline number
  • The first aid procedures for exposure
  • Methods to avoid pets or young children being exposed

Most poisonous plants are not lethal, but even non-lethal levels of poisoning can be potentially devastating to those with liver or kidney issues, or to young children or small animals. 


3) Practice on nontoxic plants first

Your first plants should never be any species that are potentially poisonous, purely because you’re unfamiliar with the care of potentially delicate plant species and you’re likely to make mistakes. Think of it like working in a chemistry lab - we don’t give beginners arsenic to work with in their first experiments, because we know they’re not aware of all the safety protocols and correct treatment of arsenic. Similarly, your first plants should never be belladonna or hemlock - instead, stick to plants that are well-known to be non-toxic. 

It may be a good idea to practice on plants related to your target species first, and then move on to more toxic examples later. For instance, instead of starting with belladonna, start out with tomatoes (a kind of nightshade), then move up to non-poisonous nightshades, and then try a more mildly toxic nightshade like woody nightshade, before finally planting deadly nightshade. Since many toxic plants are connected to the nightshade family, this is a good way to get used to that family before planting hensbane, deadly nightshade, and similar plants. 

Mandrakes (Mandragora officinalis) often grow in the same environments as wild beetroot and chicory, so these plants would be excellent starters although they’re not really related. 

Basically, look up plants that grow around your intended species, and practice on those before moving up to the more dangerous examples.


4) Prevent cross-pollination

All gardeners know the pain of growing two species together that are just a little TOO closely related, and ending up with weird hybrids all over the place. Plants are very big on “cross-pollination” - when one species pollinates a different species, causing the growth of an entirely new variety of plant. This is often beneficial: water-mint and spearmint hybridise to form the delicious but sterile peppermint, for example. However, with poisonous plants, cross-pollination could result in new varieties of poisonous plants being produced that could escape into the wild and become dangerous or invasive. So, manage cross-pollination!


5) Keep them away from bees

Many poisonous chemicals can be passed into honey through bees’ collection of nectar and pollen, or alternatively will simply kill bees who attempt to eat the nectar outright. For instance, the popular ornamental plant “Angel’s Trumpet” will cause brood-death in bees, and oleander poisons will concentrate in honey and potentially harm both bees and humans. However, not all plants are so dangerous - foxgloves are extremely toxic to humans, but bees adore them and the honey produced from foxgloves is pleasant and safe. As a general rule though, keep toxic plants away from anywhere with an interest in promoting bee health! 

Rhododendrons are apparently especially harmful to bees, and honey made from bog-rosemary (Andromeda polifolia, unrelated to true rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis) is very poisonous to humans who consume it, potentially causing paralysis, dizziness, nerve damage, diarrhoea and vomiting. Not fun!


6) Work out how you’re going to store the products

It’s always good to know how you’re going to keep your products safe and secure after production to prevent people getting them confused for more innocent substances. Also, remember that you should never burn poisonous plant matter!


I hope that helps you all!

– Juniper Wildwalk

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Folk-lore as the True history of Witches


What has come to my mind recently is the nature of our historic understanding of witchcraft/cunning craft/etc as practiced in Europe over the course of the past 200 or so years. We base much of our knowledge, and further more most of the pages of the known literature, on the testimonies of parish priests, inquisitors and confessions often made under duress and torture. This body of knowledge has become, for the worse of history, the basis in which contemporary craft practice has been rooted. It is a framework of Christianity, a universe predicated on a savior, and a god who forbids such acts in law. An Abrahamic cult brought to the British Isles by the Roman in the 6th century. A patriarchy of knowledge control and subjugation.

Yet there exists, starting in the early 17th century, a profound body of knowledge that is not derived from tortures or confessions but on stories and knowledge freely given amongst locals in villages and towns. It is the body of what we now call ethnographic study, but is most commonly known as folklore. Starting in 1878 The Folk Lore Society in London began publishing a series of ethnographic studies, both in magazine and book format. But such folkloric study goes back several centuries before to men from the Brothers Grimm, Thomas Crofton Croker, Dalyell, Henderson, Kirk, Lady Wilde, and many others over a span of 300+ years. People who went into the pubs and gardens and talked to the real people of these places. Who listened and wrote down the stories of warding off beings and banishing dead souls. The instructions for curing illness and the nature of laying on hands and second sight.

This body of knowledge is a directly transmitted oral testimony, storytelling and folk beliefs handed down within families and gathered together by the folklorists and antiquarians from across regions of the British Isles and Europe. There are hundreds of books of these beliefs, many with detailed descriptions of spells to attack, to ward off spirits, to bind and banish and drive forth. Often listing exact components of charms and dances. Studies on the nature of folk magic in Scottish highlands, on horse magic in East Anglia, of the witch bottles and warding wands of Wales, and endless stream of valid information on the flowing tradition of folk magic as a living practice in the UK over the past half of a millennia. As well as documenting the exact pronunciation of regional words, curses, and spirits terminology, often with a glossary!

And yet this body of knowledge is almost completely overlooked in the contemporary literature on witchcraft practice. Which instead relies on the testament of Church torturers as to what was said, on the scant testimonies of victims of a system of abjuration pointed against herbal healers and common folk practitioners, more often than not elderly widows whose properties could be confiscated by the Church warden.

Its time for a rethink of our understanding of the nature of folk magic. How it is the very essence of true witch practice and is at its heart older and truer a practice that those tainted by the narrative of the Church over the past thousand years of attempted suppression. We must dig into this lost literature, much of which is available online for free as pdfs hidden on archive.org and in google books.


[I intend to post a list in the near future compiling links to some of the better documents of contemporary folk practice, particularly that from the UK.]

Story Time: Accidental Poisoning

The Mandrake leaf was yellowing, turning brown on the end. Just the one. As I munched on my apple, I loomed closer, and decided it would be best to snip the leaf. And so I did. Putting my apple down and taking up my scissors, I snipped the leaf, and began to press it between my fingers, trying to see if the problem was too much water, or too little. My mind is elsewhere though, far, far away. A good press brought out maybe few drops of liquid. Definitely underwatered. Putting the leaf down, I grabbed my watering can, and watered until I could see a small puddle form on the tray. Perfect. Now it won’t need water for some time. I look at all the other plants, watering each. All look content. Perfect

As I put down the watering can, I noticed a piece of apple skin caught in my teeth. I reached in, dislodged it, and continued on. Picking up the apple, I took another bite and began to pull out the makings for dinner. Only a few moments later, I knew something had happened. I was suddenly slammed with a feeling of being high. Fuck. I didn’t wash my hands. The apple skin! The apple! I’ve just fucking ingested Mandrake. I am….such…a genius. Shit shit shit.

I go to the bathroom, rinse out my mouth, wash off my lips, and swish some mouthwash. I look up. My pupils are alread slightly dialated. What the hell? It’s only been a minute! Perhaps it’s because I didn’t eat much today. That’s likely. Fuck. I should probably go to the doctor. I grab my keys and head out. The doctor is just up the road. This is fine. I’m slightly panicking, but overall I’m pretty chill about this. I know Mandrake. I know this plant. I have rubbed it in ny body dozens of times. I have felt it’s spirit kick my flesh. But ingestion. That’s a very new beast.

I am no fool. A doctor may not be able to really assist, and soending time in a waiting room…probably not ideal. Okay, let’s just play it safe and go to the hospital. Fuck, I don’t want to be saddled with a hospital bill. Is it really necessary? Fuck, now I’m getting giddy and light-headed. And there’s tingling. Okay, fine, I guess I’m taking a Lyft to the hospital today, dammit. Really don’t feel like seizing, so might as well go.

I get to the hospital. Where they tell me to wait…and wait……and wait………my perception of reality is shifting a touch. That’s bothersome, but not horrifying. I expected as much. Still, I’m waiting to even be triaged. Shit. Okay, they’re bringing me into the room to be checked out. Cool. I lay the table with what I know, the chemical that is causing the poisoning, the name of the plant, answering why I’m growing it (and obviously lying), and describing each symptom I’ve experienced, and what is to come. I know what I’m talking about here. I am confident. I am….so damn giddy.

Okay, they tell me. Go wait.

Go wait? Seriously? Well fuck, I hope I’m right and that there’s really no need to be here cuz damn, at this point y'all are just waiting for me to freak out. My mouth is dry as hell, but okay.

Thirty minutes go by, and Tangled, which was at the bar scene when I came in, is now over, fully through the credits, and now playing special features. And I am feeling totally fine. As fast asthe atropine hit me, it’s now subsided. Well, I guess I’ll just go ahead and leave then. They tell me I HAVE to see a nurse before I can leave. Okay fine. I go into the room, and talk to the nurse dude. I’m fine. He’s fine. We’re all fine. Can I go now?

And so here I am, hungry as hell, and eyeing my mandrake plant, who I can tell is giggling at me. “Silly witch,” Mandrake says. “Don’t underestimate me. You must be more careful!”

I did indeed vastly underestimate this marvelous plant, and let my guard down as I tended to it. Now I know. What a dangerous, and yet thrilling lesson to learn. As @occvlta has stated, we must ingest our poisons to learn about them. But perhaps such ingestion should not occur in this fashion. Good Lord, what a ride.

Lesson to all. Mind your hands, your plants, and what you ingest.

Tagged by @sos-diabolik thank you, lovely.

Name 10 ships from different fandoms and tag two other people:

1. Saero x Diana (Seduce Me)

2. Wadanohara x Samekichi (Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea)

3. Etihw x Kcalb (The Gray Garden)

4. InuYasha x Kagome (InuYasha)

Originally posted by kasugano

5. Izuku Midoriya x Ochako Uraraka (My Hero Academia)

Originally posted by fairytailwitch

6. Lucy x Kouta (Elfen Lied)

Originally posted by its-tokugawa

7. Usagi Tsukino x Mamoru Chiba (Sailor Moon)

Originally posted by eternal-sailormoon

8. Tsumuri x Ico (Poison Bugs)

9. Idate x Rocma (Ice Scream)

10. Dazai Osamu x Chuuya Nakahara (Bungou Stray Dogs)

Originally posted by prince-albein

I tag: @funamusea-imagines and @bandaged-chessmaster (you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to!)

Top 30 Classic Rock Songs

(In no particular order)

1. Starman by David Bowie

2. Dancing with Myself by Billy Idol

3. Heart of Glass by Blondie

4. Pride (in the name of love) by U2

5. Under Pressure by  Queen & David Bowie

6. Don’t you (Forget about me) by Simple Minds

7. Every Breath You Take by The Police

8. Money by Pink Floyd

9. Paint it Black by The Rolling Stones

10. Break On Through The Doors

11. More than a Feeling by Boston

12. Talk Dirty to Me by Poison

13. Roxanne by The Police

14. Lemon Tree by  Fool’s Garden

15. White Wedding by Billy Idol

16. Just like Heaven by The Cure

17. Hold the Line by Toto

18. Teenage Riot by The Ataris

19. This Charming Man by The Smiths

20. Maria by Blondie

21. Panama by Van Halen

22. Children of the Revolution by T. Rex

23. Island Girl by Elton John

24. What’s up by 4 Non Blondes

25. The Air that I Breathe by The Hollies

26. Dream on by Aerosmith

27. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin

28. Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls

29. Carry on my Wayward Son by Kansas

30. Brain Damage by Pink Floyd