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    Thread: Duchess Can grow Cannabis!!!

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      Default Duchess Can grow Cannabis!!!

      Plants may be caged as castle plots UK's most deadly garden

      Martin Wainwright
      Monday April 5, 2004

      Guardian Newspaper

      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.

      Although originally scoffed at by many conventional gardening experts, the terraced cascades, labyrinth and £3.3m treehouse village, which is currently being built, have become a big attraction.

      More than 550,000 people toured the 12 acres last year, with only a third of the eventual garden laid out behind walls at the centre of the castle's Capability Brown park.

      The project is independent of the Northumberlands - one of Britain's richest families - but the duchess, Jane, is a leading trustee and source of many of the brainwaves, including the venomous dell.
      "The Poison Garden will be full of excitement and intrigue, especially for children," she said. "More seriously, it will a safe place for visitors to learn about the dangerous side of plants."

      Unusually for a duchess, she has been involved in the complicated negotiations with public health inspectors, the police and the Home Office that are necessary for anyone who wants to cultivate opium or henbane.
      "That's probably the poison Shakespeare had in mind for Juliet," said Ms Holmes, who is planning events in the garden based on literary themes or the activities of notorious poisoners such as Lucrezia Borgia and the Victorian writer Thomas Wainewright.

      "Henbane in the right dosage will take someone to the doors of death, but not through them," said Ms Holmes. "You look convincingly dead, but you should recover."

      The final choice of hundreds of plants has yet to be made, but other strong candidates include nepata, known as catnip or cats' cannabis because of its effect on felines, and monk's pepper, which alters the hormonal balance in both sexes.

      Darnel, the only known poisonous grass, which increases its dangers by attracting the toxic fungus ergot, is likely to grow alongside castor oil plants, the source of the terrorist-scare poison ricin.

      "Some of the plants are going to be quite hard to track down," said Ms Holmes, "but one of the educational things about the garden is the fact that many of them are very familiar."

      Apparently innocent border favourites like the foxglove contain potentially lethal poisons, as do Christmas roses and granny's bonnet.
      The garden will recall centuries of folklore and local knowledge - the alternative name for briony is "death warrant"; the wild clematis Old Man's Beard was once part of the equipment of professional beggars, who rubbed its sap into scratches to make temporary but satisfactorily weeping ulcers.

      The cultivation of most of the varieties will not be difficult - venomous plants, like weeds, tend to grow prolifically, and many of them also produce vivid flowers, leaf patterns and coloured fruit or pods.
      "They're not always the sort of thing you can buy in your local garden centre," Ms Holmes said, "but we know where to get hold of all of them."

      Satan's cherries and fatal fronds

      · Atropa belladonna
      Deadly nightshade: just three of the sweet-tasting berries (known as Satan's cherries) can be lethal, although the roots are the deadliest part. The "beautiful woman" Latin name derives from use of the plant's juice as an eyedrop to excite and enlarge the pupil

      · Cannabis sativa
      Indian hemp or marijuana (not to mention pot, dope, spliff, skunk etc). Delicate fronds made the plant a Victorian border essential; but you can also suffer extreme hallucinations or even death if you sleep in a cannabis field. Known as the "cementer of pleasure" and the "leaf of delusion", it can only be grown with a Home Office licence ??? < [death in cannabis field.???...] commented by Pistils..

      · Conium maculatum
      Hemlock. Used for ancient Greece's compulsory suicides, most famously by Socrates, the plant increases its toxin as the climate gets warmer. Rapid physical deterioration is accompanied by the mind remaining clear to the end

      · Erythroxylum coca
      Cocaine. Also requires a Home Office licence to grow. The drug is also used to help breathing at high altitude in its native Andes, but at the risk of depression, ulcers and memory loss

      · Heracleum lehmannianum
      Giant hogweed. Vast and increasingly common weed named after the Greek hero Hercules. Contact with the leaves or sap makes skin very light-sensitive, causing severe blisters and sometimes permanent scarring

      · Laburnum anagyroides
      Laburnum. Beautiful and popular shrub but often barred from gardens visited by children as all parts are extremely poisonous if nibbled or eaten. Contains cytosine, which causes convulsions, vomiting, unequally dilated pupils and frothing at the mouth

      · Strychnos nux-vomica
      Strychnine. Known innocuously as Quaker's Button, the plant is the source of the South American poison curare and can only be grown under licence. Fictional poisoners have used it even more than real ones, because of its dramatic symptoms including risus sardonicus - a posthumous fixed grin

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      Last edited by pistils; 1st November 2005 at 09:22 PM.

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