Lauren McMah, with NEWS.COM.AU, reports:
AT FIRST glance it seems like a typical English country garden: lush trees billowing over manicured topiaries, pretty blooms dotted along gravel paths, and everything neatly enclosed in an antique-style, wrought-iron fence.
But on closer inspection, nothing here is really that innocent.
On the gate leading to this green oasis is a grim message, a genuine warning of what lurks inside: “These plants can kill.”
That is the sign that greets intrepid visitors to the Alnwick Poison Garden in Northumberland, UK, a sinister botanical wonderland that is home to 100 of the world’s most lethal plants.
Tourists have fallen ill and fainted here, having flouted stern advice to not smell or touch anything that grows inside.
... Among the deadly flora at Alnwick are foxgloves, atropa belladonna — also known as the deadly nightshade — and hemlock, the plant that killed the philosopher Socrates.
There is also ricinus communis, which can annihilate internal organs with a single seed, and nux vomica, which is the source of the pesticide strychnine.
Even some common plants are seriously dangerous: a daffodil bulb can kill a person, and leaves from the seemingly innocuous laurel hedge are not much safer.
... Datura is an incredible poison, but an amazing aphrodisiac, too, and you see it everywhere.
In Argentina, even nowadays, some people put a bell of datura ... on a baby’s pillow at night, then take it away after five minutes and the baby has gone to sleep. If it were left all night the baby would be dead in the morning.
This is not the first garden to come with an ominous warning. Neither is it the first time that warning wasn’t heeded, with dire consequences.
Like Adam, we are free to enjoy most of what we find in life. But there are certain restrictions placed upon us by God. Paul writes, “ … Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don't be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world” (Colossians 3:5, NLT).
But just as it was in the Garden, sin continues to hold an allure for us today. Partake at your own peril, but don’t be surprised at the consequences that are sure to follow.
“And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die” (Genesis 2:16-17).
“But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death” (Proverbs 8:36, KJV).