Six on Saturday: What’s your poison?

There are many garden plants which are poisonous. Some when ingested by people or animals. Others, like Euphorbia, contain an irritant sap which can be toxic to the skin.

With children playing in our garden I try to avoid these as far as possible, but sometimes they self sow. We have lots of Arum maculatum otherwise known as Lords and Ladies in shady corners and when we moved here four years ago and our son was just two I went round trying to dig them up so he wouldn’t be tempted by the shiny red berries. The result was that I ended up helping them to propagate even more.

I am starting this week’s six with a couple of highly poisonous but beautiful plants. Thanks as ever to The Propagator for inviting us to give a snapshot of our garden each week.

1. Aconitum

The common name for Aconitum is monkshood and it is not hard to see why with its distinctive purple cap like flowers. There was a case of a gardener a few years back who died after handling monkshood. Ours is self sown from next door. I usually let it flower then put on rubber gloves, cut it down, then bag it and bin it.

2. Foxglove

Digitalis purpurea is another highly toxic plant which can even poison through cuts in the skin, so it is best to wear gloves when handling it. I love its tall spires of bells but have avoided planting it while the children are young. This one has self sown in a corner behind the trampoline and I will leave it as it is rather lovely.

3. Astrantia

I am not aware that masterwort is particularly poisonous although I probably wouldn’t try eating it. Its botanical name comes from the Latin for star ‘aster’ and you can see why. This pinky white one comes from Marchants Hardy Plants in East Sussex.

4. Ferns

The ferns are at their best at this time of year when they are zinging with new growth. They are great in this corner which never gets any sun.

5. French breakfast radishes

We got our first crop of radishes this week which we ate with some salad leaves given to us by our nextdoor neighbour. This weekend I am planning to sow some Mizuna to keep us in salad over the summer.

6. Front garden roses

I love growing veg in our front garden raised beds but I also love growing roses in this sunny spot: Lady Hillingdon climber, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Gertrude Jekyll and Vanessa Bell.

16 Comments Add yours

  1. As shown in my post, my roses have only just started to bloom – yours are well established and looking lovely. It’s slightly worrying to find out how many plants are poisonous, especially ones like foxgloves and delphiniums, although I do keep them to the back of the borders. Very pretty Six-on-Saturday.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Catherine says:

    I wasn’t aware of that fact about foxgloves, I’ll take a bit more care with them in future. Euphorbia I do have rather a lot of and have been digging much of it up, and moving some further back in the borders as we now have a very inquisitive 20 month-old grandson who will be able to return for garden-only visits from this Thursday.

    Your front garden roses are lovely – still too early for mine but some of the buds are starting to fatten.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes keep him away from foxgloves! Poisoning is rare as they taste so horrible apparently but wouldn’t want to risk it.


  3. What lovely roses you have! I love the aconite, such a beautiful plant.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. fredgardener says:

    Pretty choice of roses this week for you too. I put mine in my six and we both have different roses. It’s funny to say French breakfast radishes, I’m more croissants for breakfast and radishes for lunch

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was just the name on the packet 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lisa says:

    The monkshood is such a pretty color. I am careful what I plant because my dog does nibble some plants. He has a passion for zinnia leaves, and the other day was eating borage. That was a first for the borage, so now I don’t trust him!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Humans can eat borage flowers – good for decorating salads – not sure about dogs?


  6. Heyjude says:

    I have a monkshood, just waiting for it to flower as it never has the whole time I have been here, but this year I have seen a flower spike. I love the colour. I wish I could have a white foxglove but the only ones around here are the ubiquitous pink-purple colours that self-seed. And those radishes look gorgeous! About the only veg I can grow!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. janesmudgeegarden says:

    The foxglove is so pure and white, hard to imagine it’s so poisonous. It’s too hot in my garden to grow them, more’s the pity, they are delightful to look at.


  8. byrnejudy says:

    Your foxglove and monkshood look delicious : good enough to eat !


  9. I’m growing a load of aconitum from seed. I knew they were poisonous but i didn’t know they were that bad. I’ll treat them with due caution. Those radish look yummy.


  10. Oh, my favorite radish. The rabbits ate all mine! Your roses look wonderful.


  11. tonytomeo says:

    Foxglove would grow wild within some of the landscapes, but must be removed because this is such a public place.


  12. Astrantia is one of my favourite perennials because it never disappoints. I have Monkshood. I thought I had for rid of it a couple of years ago but I have noticed some leaves in the garden.


  13. Enjoy your radishes. I’ve got a bit of a glut at the moment as we did sowings over a few weeks but all seem to have come at the same time.


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