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.
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.
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.
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.
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.