THE POISON GARDEN website      Arum maculatum berries on a Cannabis leaf 


This free script provided by JavaScript Kit

Pontifications on Poison

Being some ramblings on events associated with poisonous plants.

September 2012

Current Entries


Previous Entries

November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011

Saturday 29th September 2012

I had decided not to write, for a third time, about Channel 4’s ‘Drugs Live: The Ecstasy Trial’ but something I read, yesterday, seemed to be so relevant that I thought I would offer some views on different parts of the programmes.

Like a lot of people, I wasn’t impressed with the format because it meant the programme wasted the resources it had to hand. On both nights, the audience was made up of people deeply involved in drugs policy, from all sides, yet, rather than invite contributions from these people who would have had something interesting to say, quite a bit of time was spent hearing ‘what Twitter has to say’...more

Thursday 27th September 2012

Over the coming days there will be a lot written about Channel 4’s ‘Drugs Live: The Ecstasy Trial’ and much of it will be better informed, and better written, than anything I have to say.

One important ‘read’ to better understand the first programme was written three and a half years ago. I’ll explain..more

Monday 24th September 2012

On Sunday, the weather forecast for today said that the very heavy rain and high winds would move up from the south to give us a pretty unpleasant day. So, it seemed like a good idea to get out in the garden and do some tidying up as well as making sure that high winds would not lead to things, like plastic flower pots, flying around.

I had a walk around, in the character of the head gardener of a big estate. That is to say, I was walking around looking favourably on some things and very unfavourably on others. The only problem is I get to play all the other characters as well; the assistant head gardener, the gardener, the under-gardener and all the way down to the unpaid trainee who gets to do most of the unpleasant jobs for no reward..more

Sunday 23rd September 2012

I doubt if there is anyone with even just a passing interest in psychoactive substances who is not aware that, later this week, Channel 4 will be broadcasting two programmes about the potential use of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), ecstasy, for therapeutic purposes.

The first, on 26th September, will show volunteers taking MDMA and having the changes it makes in their brains identified by a scanner. The second, the next evening, will be a live discussion of the results and the wider aspects of drug policy...more

Monday 17th September 2012

I’ve been updating some of the pages in the A to Z section of this site with some recent stories of poisoning incidents.

The first involved a woman in Indiana who was tidying up her back garden and got the latex sap from an unnamed species of Euphorbia on her face and in her eyes. She described the burning pain in her eyes as worse than the pain of giving birth and said she felt as though acid had been poured onto her face. The website of the local TV station has a rather poor quality image of the plant in question intended to act as guidance for other gardeners but the video clip on the same page gives a better view...more

Saturday 15th September 2012

To the health centre. My wife had a blood test the other morning so that meant me sitting in the waiting room trying to find a magazine to read that wasn’t wholly about reality TV stars. I settled on the December 2010 edition of ‘Gardeners’ World’ the spin-off from the BBC TV show.

There was a feature in it by Toby Buckland about things you can do in the garden in the depths of winter and one part concerned his attempts to get Viscum album, mistletoe, to grow...more

Tuesday 11th September 2012

I mentioned, when I wrote challenging the things that ‘everybody knows’, I had come across a new publication from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) that seemed to have been more leaked that published though I’m not sure if ‘leak’ is the right word for an organisation placing information on its own website without telling anyone it is there.

I said I would take more of a look at ‘Cannabis: A Short Review’ and I’ve been trying to but it really is a pretty dispiriting read. It is almost as if Ben Goldacre never wrote ‘Bad Science’. In fact, if you’ve only recently read the book I recommend this UNODC discussion paper as a useful exercise to check out real life examples of the misdirection techniques discussed by Dr. Goldacre...more

Saturday 8th September 2012

I seem to have been reading a lot of pieces about those ‘everybody knows’ things. This hasn’t been all about one topic and it hasn’t been deliberate. It has just worked out that I’ve come across, or been directed to, a number of articles that, for their specific field of interest, demonstrate that, most of the time, what everybody knows is wrong.

This is not the first time I’ve written about this topic. Last year, I looked in detail at why people still say that coffee is a diuretic in spite of that belief coming from a poorly designed study involving just three people that, since 1928 when it was conducted, has been disproved by many other studies...more

Saturday 1st September 2012

I’m trying to suppress the feeling of Schadenfreude after seeing two local news stories from different parts of the UK. That’s largely because the ‘others’ whose suffering I’m in danger of enjoying are children and, obviously, it would be very wrong to be pleased at youngsters being harmed. There is though a feeling of reassurance.

I’ve written a number of times about what I call the Jerry Maguire test that I apply to stories about how dangerous a plant can be. That is to say, I look for the numbers of people, or animals, that actually get harmed by a plant before accepting what is said about its potential...more


Full Entries


Tuesday 25th October 2016
Saturday 20th August 2016
Sunday 6th March 2016
Wednesday 3rd February 2016


Saturday 28th November 2015
Friday 27th November 2015
Monday 17th August 2015
Wednesday 15th July 2015
Friday 26th June 2015
Thursday 25th June 2015
Thursday 30th April 2015
Wednesday 29th April 2015
Wednesday 11th March 2015
Tuesday 3rd March 2015
Saturday 28th February 2015
Sunday 22nd February 2015

November 2014

Monday 24th November 2014
Saturday 8th November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

Wednesday 24th September 2014
Monday 1st September 2014

August 2014

Tuesday 26th August 2014
Saturday 16th August 2014
Tuesday 5th August 2014
Friday 1st August 2014

July 2014

Sunday 27th July 2014
Wednesday 23rd July 2014
Sunday 13th July 2014
Sunday 6th July 2014
Tuesday 1st July 2014

June 2014

Wednesday 25th June 2014
Tuesday 24th June 2014
Sunday 22nd June 2014
Monday 9th June 2014
Wednesday 4th June 2014

May 2014

Monday 26th May 2014
Sunday 18th May 2014
Wednesday 14th May 2014

April 2014

Sunday 13th April 2014
Saturday 5th April 2014
Thursday 3rd April 2014
Tuesday 1st April 2014

March 2014

Monday 31st March 2014
Tuesday 25th March 2014
Friday 21st March 2014
Monday 17th March 2014
Sunday 16th March 2014
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Thursday 6th March 2014
Wednesday 5th March 2014
Saturday 1st March 2014

February 2014

Thursday 27th February 2014
Monday 24th February 2014
Wednesday 19th February 2014
Monday 17th February 2014
Thursday 13th February 2014
Monday 4th February 2014
Monday 3rd February 2014
Saturday 1st February 2014

January 2014

Thursday 28th January 2014
Thursday 23rd January 2014
Friday 17th January 2014
Wednesday 15th January 2014
Monday 13th January 2014
Thursday 9th January 2014
Tuesday 7th January 2014
Wednesday 1st January 2014

December 2013

Monday 23rd December 2013
Friday 20th December 2013
Tuesday 17th December 2013
Friday 14th December 2013
Thursday 12th December 2013
Sunday 8th December 2013
Wednesday 4th December 2013
Sunday 1st December 2013

November 2013

Friday 29th November 2013
Wednesday 27th November 2013
Tuesday 26th November 2013
Friday 22nd November 2013
Monday 18th November 2013
Friday 15th November 2013
Thursday 14th November 2013
Sunday 10th November 2013
Thursday 7th November 2013
Wednesday 6th November 2013
Friday 1st November 2013

October 2013

Thursday 31st October 2013
Sunday 27th October 2013
Wednesday 23rd October 2013
Monday 21st October 2013
Friday 18th October 2013
Friday 11th October 2013
Wednesday 9th October 2013
Tuesday 8th October 2013
Monday 7th October 2013
Tuesday 1st October 2013

September 2013

Monday 30th September 2013
Saturday 28th September 2013
Friday 27th September 2013
Monday 23rd September 2013
Sunday 15th September 2013
Monday 9th September 2013
Tuesday 3rd September 2013
Sunday 1st September 2013

August 2013

Sunday 8th September 2013
Tuesday 3rd September 2013
Sunday 1st September 2013

Tuesday 27th August 2013
Sunday 25th August 2013
Monday 19th August 2013
Friday 16th August 2013
Tuesday 13th August 2013
Friday 9th August 2013
Friday 2nd August 2013
Thursday 1st August 2013

July 2013

Saturday 27th July 2013
Sunday 21st July 2013
Wednesday 17th July 2013
Monday 15th July 2013
Saturday 13th July 2013
Friday 12th July 2013
Thursday 11th July 2013
Wednesday 10th July 2013
Tuesday 9th July 2013
Saturday 6th July 2013

June 2013

Friday 28th June 2013
Tuesday 25th June 2013
Friday 21st June 2013
Thursday 20th June 2013
Wednesday 19th June 2013
Saturday 15th June 2013
Sunday 9th June 2013
Saturday 8th June 2013
Saturday 1st June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012 blog

June 2012 blog

May 2012 blog

April 2012 blog

March 2012 blog

February 2012 blog

January 2012 blog

December 2011 blog

November 2011 blog

October 2011 blog

September 2011 blog

August 2011 blog

July 2011 blog

June 2011 blog


The POISON GARDEN website is not connected with Alnwick Garden Enterprises Ltd and/or The Alnwick Garden Trust.