poisonous garden

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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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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.

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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

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

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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

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.]

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A concept of something that’s been on my mind!

The concept is basically that the student chatter effects change, as do their dialogue based on the current school atmosphere. Additionally, when you walk by a student, sometimes a bubble will appear over their head, and you are given a button prompt to listen (if you want, it’s not required). Sometimes it’s useful information (”I saw rat poison in the gardening shed–you think the school has a rat infestation?”), and sometimes it’s just everyday chit-chat. Said bubble will change according to the school atmosphere.

High School Atmosphere

  • Students have a normal, round speech bubble appear above them.
  • The chatter effects and speech bubbles are bright and cute.
  • Students’ dialogue is casual, bubbly, and sometimes dull.

Medium School Atmosphere

  • The chatter effects and speech bubbles will change to darkened puffs. This is to indicate students are whispering, and keeping hush-hush on recent events.
  • Dialogue changes from easy-going to wary and uneasy. Students alternate between regular conversations, and recent events.

Low School Atmosphere

  • Chatter effects and speech bubbles devolve into erratic scribbles.
  • Students are clearly traumatized and paranoid, and this is reflected through dialogue.
  • Any and all dialogue refers to current events.