A misty rain persisted while I wandered, nearly alone, on the grounds surrounding Blarney Castle, in County Cork, Ireland. Not far away was a tower remnant where the famous Blarney Stone is kissed by 400,000 visitors a year. My husband opted for stone-kissing; I was drawn to the gardens surrounding it.
It was The Poison Garden near the ruined castle walls that peaked my curiosity. A welcome sign stated the garden’s purpose was to educate visitors about the positive and negative aspects of poisonous plants; those “found both in the wild and in our own gardens.”
That morning, I learned that just a handful of people die each year from eating a poisonous plant in its natural state, but millions die from products made from those plants. The sign explained: “The plants aren’t ‘bad.’ We make them harmful by the ways in which we use them.”
Now weeks later, that statement’s lingering truth has been on my mind as (continue reading →)