From Medicine to Murder: How the Apothecary Garden Found Its Dark Side

There’s something about the concept of a poison garden that either titillates or terrifies, depending on your preferences.
The UK’s most famous Poison Garden is at the Alnwick Garden. Its influence is so far-reaching that if you Google “poison garden”, it dominates the first several pages of results. So much so that I assumed the poison garden was an established concept in horticultural history. Not so, it turns out.
Yet it does descend from a historical gardening ideal – the physic garden.
You and I are going on a voyage of discovery in these gardens. Just be careful not to touch anything…

The Victorian Language of Flowers: Hiding Secret Messages in Plain Sight

If a bouquet of flowers arrives at our door, we’re more interested in who sent them. The Victorians were more concerned with what it meant.The Victorian language of flowers, also known as floriography, was a way to send messages using specific plants and flowers. Combining different flowers allowed them to send more complex or sophisticated messages.Let’s look at how this language developed and how to use it.

From The Fool to the World: The History and Folklore of Tarot Cards

When you think of tarot cards, do you picture a fortune teller predicting your untimely end in a darkened room? Do you think they’re evil? Thankfully, as you’ll soon discover, the former is unlikely and the latter is simply wrong. Let’s investigate the history and folklore of this much-maligned form of divination.

Roses are Red: The Sinister Side of Valentine’s Day Folklore

Sending mean cards? Eating mashed earthworms? Using jack o’lanterns to light medieval love banquets? They’re all surprising yet vaguely sinister ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Speaking to the Dead: Necromancy in Magic and Folklore

So, what is necromancy and what does it have to do with folklore? Come with me, and let’s enter the peculiar world of death divination…