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.

Sunday 13th July 2014

I still don’t get Twitter. I’m not sure if I’m doing it wrong (by reading every Tweet that reaches my timeline) or whether everybody else is capable of reading much faster than me. I say this because I can’t understand how people can follow a thousand or more people and not be spending every minute reading the resulting Tweets.

This gap in my knowledge means that I don’t automatically follow anyone who has chosen to follow me. My understanding is that doing so can lead to a fairly rapid rise in the number of followers on the basis that the more people you know about, the more people will know about you.

Even so, my tally of followers has grown steadily and seems to be showing signs of acceleration, as you would expect, mathematically. And it occurred to me that some of those new followers might be interested in some of my previous ‘pontifications’ so it might make sense to tweet again about some of the pieces based on my own evaluation of my best work.

Heracleum mantegazzianum, giant hogweed

Heracleum mantegazzianum, giant hogweed

I started with the piece about Heracleum mantegazzianum, giant hogweed, that, for some reason, makes a regular appearance in my ‘most visited pages’ statistics. Here it is in case you’ve missed it.

That seemed to work so I followed it, today, with the story of the destruction of my Catha edulis, khat, plants just over a year ago. Actually, it was that piece that gave me the idea of revisiting the past because I’d intended to mention it on the one year anniversary but missed it by a few days.

Reading it back before inviting new scrutiny of it, I saw a point about the classification of khat that I’d forgotten I’d made. I said;

‘Then there is the announcement, the day after the statement about khat, that she would accept the ACMD’s recommendation to make foil available to injecting drug users because the evidence says this reduces the transmission of disease and helps some people to enter treatment for problem drug use. It may be that she thought two decisions that could be spun by the Hitchens, Gyngell, Phillips cabal as showing she was ‘soft on drugs’ was too much of a risk to take so she was happy to sacrifice the immigrant communities to stave off criticism.’

Catha edulis, khat

Catha edulis, khat

Looking back, as best I can, it appears I may have been right. I can’t find any criticism of the decision on foil from even the most rabid prohibitionists. The recent European ruling on what is being called the ‘right to be forgotten’ means that Google is no longer a reliable way to determine whether or not something exists online. That means I’ve had to search the individual sites that give houseroom to their writings but, unpleasant as that experience was, it confirmed that there was no criticism of the decision on foil as a sign of being ‘soft on drugs’.

Overall, I haven’t been able to find anyone who spun the decision on foil as being the government encouraging drug use. Given some of the extreme distortions of reality that will likely feature in future pieces dragged up from the archive, it is surprising that that didn’t happen.

I have to concede that Theresa May got it right by sacrificing the interests of the minority communities where khat chewing has been outlawed in favour of avoiding any suggestion that she is ‘wet’.

I can only hope that her callous indifference to the well-being of British citizens will, in due course, be a factor in her not succeeding David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party.


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.