Wednesday, 12 August 2009

A Poisonous Garden

On Wednesday we met Andy's Mum, Jean, in Alnmouth-only an hour from Edinburgh! We had lunch there, then went down to Alnwick Castle Gardens. After a bit of faffing around with carparks-it was extremely busy and we had to find the overflow field-we found our way to the garden. As soon as we found it we then got a bit lost in the bamboo maze! It was beautifully cool in there. The gardens are the long term project of The Duchess of Northumberland (Here is a less than enthusiastic article about her and the way it has developed. Here is a more positive one!) and are great for a family day out. There were many families having picnics and kids using the various watery facilities-fountains that spurt unexpectedly and streams to paddle in. It was a boiling hot day, and so perfect for this kind of thing.

We had a wander around, enjoying the walled garden, rose garden and various covered walks. We then found ourselves at the ominous gates of the Poison Garden. We were told by the guide not to touch or even smell anything amongst the deadly plants to be found there. The garden is arranged with beds in the shape of tongues of flame and the guide created a suitably scary atmosphere with her gruesome tales of plant related deaths. The most scary plant was Oleander-even a scratch from the wood of this plant can kill, we were told-so if you have it in your garden be very careful! Here is quite a good article about it.This is a cannabis plant and one of the healthiest looking in the garden. A lot of the plants looked a bit unhealthy and undernourished which seemed appropriate somehow. I only noticed the sign when I looked at my photos though-KEEP OFF THE GRASS-ha ha!
This is the treehouse-a huge affair containing a cafe and restaurant.
And this wobbly bridge-one of two we crossed-every child that passed in the opposite direction shook the bridge! We had fun!

Later on, after Jean had gone home, we had our beach walk. The sun was beginning to set and this is the time the Oyster Catchers seem to like the best. They are cute and comical birds who do not eat oysters apparently!
Jackdaws on the phone wires.

I would love to live by a beach-bliss!


Anonymous said...

another wonderful day!!

Poetikat said...

We are convinced our next-door neighbour is growing his own "weed". He veils them in a ton of tomato plants, but every now and then the sweet odour makes its way into our living room windows. Yuck!

Great snaps. What a gorgeous garden with the topiary hedges! I won't be planting oleander any time soon!


Anne said...

Hi, Sarah! Lovely gardens! Love the bamboo! And the wobbly bridge! :-)

joyce said...

Hi Sarah, I followed you from Dance of a Painted Lady......what a wonderful garden to spend a day in. I didn't know there were plants that could kill you by a scratch. It looks like a fairytale place. Keep off the grass....heehee, as in the cannibas "grass" or the lawn??

Sonia ;) said...

Oh goodie another place to look up..Wow how going on journeys with yall..gets me out of the house ha ha...That grass needs mowing or burning or the other..LOL..So cool a poisonous garden never heard of such a thing...TY for the lovely day outing...

xoxox S

Candace said...

FUN all the way around. So glad you are enjoying your time off -- I love that you include links so we can really share a bit in your experience. Loved listening to the oystercatchers.
I love love love the beach and would so enjoy living by one also, Sarah. Fantastic sunset shot, too.

A Poisonous Garden... mmm. wonder if we have one Stateside?
Take care!
Candace in Athens x

Renee said...

I would love to live by the water.

Love Renee xoxo

Gigi said...

Great photos and very interesting dangerous plants! This looks like a fascinating place to visit. Thanks for stopping by my blog, by the way! I AM having a great London visit. We're staying in Bloomsbury this trip, and packing too much into two weeks. Today we went to Winchester, a place I'd never been, and which I found completely delightful! Any recommendations for places I MUST visit while in London? We come every couple of years, so I've done the big touristy stuff and am looking for more quirky and different things to do. Thanks for any ideas you might have for me!!

Anonymous said...

Great pictures! The gardens looked lovely. I think I would have found the poisonous plants most interesting!