For all of my Design-obsessed Peeps - Day 3/UNCONVENTIONAL GARDENS(Alnwick Garden)



I am shocked and saddened at the death of Amy Winehouse; it seems quite surreal that all that remains of this particular individual’s life are the images we experienced electronically, shared moments in the attendance of a live performance, or the singular bewitching voice which pierced through our consciousness thereby forcing us to understand her—as well as our-- need to feel, to risk, to love, to live.  Brilliantly and mischievously, she made not being good, devilishly good.  She will be missed.

She will be simultaneously missed and remembered for both on and off stage performances; there is no denying her incredible talent, yet lately this had been clouded by public incidents of the loss of control attributed to drugs and alcohol, both poisons to which much caution must be attached.  It is argued that the substances (or the base materials) in themselves are quite benign, and only in application does any danger arise.  I find much merit in this assertion, and apparently so does the Duchess of Northumberland who created The Poison Garden within Alnwick Garden near New Castle, reputedly the most beautiful garden in Europe.  Designed by Jacques and Peter Wirtz, it features beautifully landscaped grounds, architecture, and waterfalls.  Themed gardens include The Ornamental Garden (the country’s largest selection of European plants), The Cherry Orchard, The Grand Cascade, The Serpent Garden, The Bamboo Labyrinth, and The Poison Garden.  A press release reads:  In the intriguing Poison Garden, behind locked gates, guides share tales of deadly plants. Myths and legends are uncovered, along with facts from science and history.  The Garden features many plants grown unwittingly in back gardens and in the British countryside, as well as many more unusual varieties. Flame-shaped beds contain belladonna, tobacco and mandrake. The Alnwick Garden has a Home Office licence to grow some very special plants; the cannabis and coca which are found behind bars in giant cages.

In addition to the more obvious miscreants such as monkshood, poison oak, and nightshade, many of our favorite garden plants if accidentally swallowed, can also be quite fatal.  Some of these are the boxwood, lily-of-the-valley, columbine, foxglove, oleander, the common ivy (in addition to being invasive, quite toxic) and many others which may be easily seen at 

Enjoy today’s visual treat; the peep-show continues tomorrow with The Victory Garden.


PS:  New York Magazine’s Nitsuh Abede offers an insightful and beautiful essay on Amy Winehouse at the following link:


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