Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


The Poison Garden

The Poison Garden gate

Apparently King of Peace is not innovative in wanting to get an anti-drug message across in an unusual way (see Going too Far for more on that). The 40-something Duchess of Northumberland took her epic reconstruction of Alnwick Gardens too far as some Brits see it with The Poison Garden. There one finds plants used in creating Heroine (poppies), Cocaine (Coca), growing alongside Marijuna (or cannabis).

An article in The Lady magazine quotes the duchess,
The Duchess of Northumberland, Jane Percy“Children and their parents will be able to go round the garden, which actually has drugs growing in it, and talk about the whole issue,” the Duchess explains. “Apparently, this is a first—and it’s very good to have these discussions in a garden rather than in schools.”
Special government permission was obtained for the cannabis and coca plants, and in addition to 24-hour security, the garden has some plants in cages keeping fingers away from the dangerous leaves, stems and roots.

Historically renowned poisons, such as hemlock—used to poison Socrates—and henbane—which Shakespeare had Claudius poured into Hamlet’s father’s ear, are present alongside the modern terror Ricin, essential to create the poison used in terrorist attacks on a Japanese subway.

"The article in The Lady magazine,
A pathway in The Poison GardenVisitors are only allowed into the Poison Garden in escorted parties—three parties of a dozen at one time—and two or three people staff it on busy days to make sure that nobody is picking or touching anything, which is very labour-intensive. “I’ve landed myself with another problem, but that’s the story of my life, really. When I hear people’s reactions as they go round, I know it’s worth all the flak to get it right.”
No doubt the Duchess wanted to boost publicity and attendance to help cover the £42 Million cost of the garden overhaul, but there is also a strong anti-drug message to The Poison Garden.

A plant identifierIt reminds me of the Police deminstrations in school when I was a kid, when they would show us what Marijuana and Cocaine look like. I was never sure exactly what the point of that sort of demonstration was to be? Why do you have to see the plant or drug to learn to stay away from it?

I know that we are all struggling with how best to keep teens from finding out the suffering and grief that illegal drug use can bring, but what is the right answer? Is the Duchess on to something, or is there a better solution? Parental involvement with their children seems to be the best safeguard, but it is far from sure fire. What is the best way to prevent people from using illegal drugs, or even from abusing legal ones?

The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

PS: The Brunswick News called yesterday and a reporter interviewed me about our most recent youth group meeting. They will be running an article on it. One never knows what will happen between the interview and the article. It all depends on how the quotes are presented, but hopefully they will do a good job with the story.


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