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…
As Valentine’s Day comes around, spare a passing thought for that ubiquitous red heart that has come to symbolize the event. Historically speaking, there is a lot more than is at the surface for that emblem of love.
Until the 20th century, the inadequacies of orthodox medical services left a large proportion of the population dependent upon traditional folk medicine – essentially a mixture of common sense remedies based on the accumulated experience of nursing and midwifery, combined with inherited lore about the healing properties of plants.
A project cataloguing the archive of a renowned British palaeopathologist has revealed fascinating insights into how superstition and a belief in magic influenced ancient peoples’ approach to medical diagnosis and treatment.
These remedies, many of them fairly gruesome to our ears, were recorded only 100 years ago by Mrs Ella Mary Leather at the beginning of the 20th century, from the towns and villages of Herefordshire. Here are the folk memories of people who remembered these remedies being used and, what’s more, being efficacious. They are […]