Monday, September 06, 2004
Duchess's poison dell will lure visitors
The Guardian : "Provided that a duchess can see eye-to-eye with the Home Office on growing cannabis, strychnine and cocaine, Britain is about to get the most venomous and hallucinogenic garden it has ever seen.

Harking back to medieval times, but with a toxic arsenal that a witch or apothecary could only dream of, the project includes shrubs and creepers so potentially nasty that the designers have suggested growing some of them in cages.

Visitors will be kept at a distance from the flowerbeds, with marked boundaries and supervisors enforcing a no-touching policy.

The dell at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland will lie under a perpetual miasma of 'deliberately spooky' mist, enlivened by a copper snake rearing from a grotto and hissing vapour, triggered by sensors as visitors creep past.

'It should be quite an experience,' said Caroline Holmes, the garden's poison plant consultant, who takes a gleeful relish in her subject.

'The plants will be fascinating. Henbane, for instance, has the most evil-looking flowers, and mandrake grows in a distinctly sinister fashion.'

Due to open in August, the Poison Garden is the latest part of Alnwick Gardens, a �42m extravaganza on the estate of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland."

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