Photo | Provided by Alice Marty
The Peace Lily is toxic to humans, cats and dogs. Its leaves and stems can cause a severe burning irritation of the mouth, throat and stomach in humans if ingested.
Editor’s Note: Still putting your garden back in order after Hurricane Sally? The Mobile Botanical Gardens is offering a wonderful selection of hurricane-replacement plants for you at their Fall Plant Sale, now underway. Fall is for planting, so check out their catalog at MBGReBloomShop.com now and schedule an appointment for pickup.
By Alice Marty, Mobile County Master Gardener / MobileCountyMasterGardeners.org
As you wander through your lovely lawn and garden, have you ever considered the possibility you are surrounded by wickedness and death? What a crazy idea! All that beauty is only peaceful and even joyous. “Not so!” says best-selling author Amy Stewart. Her book entitled “Wicked Plants or The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities” is sure to convince you danger is all around.
Amy N. Stewart is an American author best known for books on horticulture and the natural world. She is a New York Times-bestselling author of 10 books, including “The Drunken Botanist” and “Flower Confidential: The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful in the Business of Flowers.”
In “Wicked Plants,” Amy introduces you to botanical crime families and shares the story of botanicals that can be found in her poison garden. Some of the most prestigious gardens of the world include poison gardens, and they are exceedingly popular focal points.
Alnwick Garden is one of North England’s most beautiful attractions, where acres of colorful plants invite visitors to wander through rows of fragrant roses, manicured topiaries and cascading fountains. But within Alnwick’s boundaries, kept behind black iron gates, is a place where visitors are explicitly told not to stop and smell the flowers: the Poison Garden, home to 100 infamous killers.
Drawing on history, medicine, science and legend, this collection of bloodcurdling botany will entertain, enlighten and alarm even the most intrepid gardeners and nature lovers. Common and botanical names, habits and native areas are included along with some of their relatives.
The Solanaceae, or nightshades, are a family of flowering plants that ranges from annual and perennial herbs to vines, lianas, epiphytes, shrubs and trees, and includes several agricultural crops, medicinal plants, spices, weeds and ornamentals. Many members of the family contain potent alkaloids, and some are highly toxic, but many — including tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, bell and chili peppers — are used as food.
With chapters titled “Arrow Poisons,” “Deadly Dinner,” “Fatal Fungus” and “This Houseplant Could Be Your Last,” the book is a perfect read just before Halloween. Search within its pages for answers to these and other questions:
What may have been the cause of the Salem witch trials?
What weed killed Abraham Lincoln’s mother? (Hint: page 219)
Want to make up some real witches’ brew?
Happy Halloween, gardeners!
For Your Calendar:
What: Fall Plant Sale, Mobile Botanical Gardens
When: Shop online starting Oct. 1, with curbside pickup on Oct. 7, Oct. 8, Oct. 9 and Oct. 14.
Shop in person Oct. 16 (9 a.m. – 4 p.m.) and Oct. 17 (9 a.m. – noon).
Where: 5151 Museum Drive, Mobile 36608
For more info: MBGReBloomshop.com
What: Charles Wood Japanese Garden (walking trail #1)
When: Daylight hours, no fee
Where: 700 Forest Hill Drive, Mobile
For more info: mobilejapanesegarden.com
What: Mobile Botanical Gardens
When: Wednesday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., by appointment
Where: 5151 Museum Drive, Mobile
For more info: MBGReBloomshop.com
What: Bellingrath Gardens
When: Daily, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Where: 12401 Bellingrath Gardens Road, Theodore
For more info: bellingrath.org
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