Though we don’t tend to think about it when we happen upon a field of wildflowers or a carefully curated garden, plants can have a dark side. For every spice we use in the kitchen, for every botanical medicine on the shelf there is another plant that holds a sinister secret, a poison in its leaves and stems potent enough to kill the foe of anyone who honed their garden craft for such a dark deed.
Plant poisons have been used for centuries. Roman Emperor Claudius I was murdered by his doctor when he was slipped a tincture of Monkshood. Socrates drank a tea steeped from Poison Hemlock as his means of suicide in 399 B.C.E. But in no other time period were poisons as exciting as they were during the Victorian Era: “The Golden Age of Poisoning.” Life insurance was just invented. Now there was a huge payout if you family members started turning up dead. And poisons, working they was they did in the body of the victim over the course of some time made conviction hard, if not impossible. Most evidence was circumstantial. You could literally get away with murder.
This vintage inspired poison garden collection takes you back to the Victorian Era: botanical curios were all the rage and scandalous deaths by poisons were gossiped about in polite society. The back lace that surrounds the mat opening is reminiscent of the funerary customs and mourning costume worn by the most fashionable widows and the vintage metal nameplate informs about the nature of each malady that will befall the plant’s unlucky victim.
Like all my pieces, each specimen was collected, dried, mounted, and sealed using museum quality techniques. This means that with normal home usage it should last you many, many years without fade or deterioration – just keep it out of direct sunlight. The cotton/linen rag stock paper is archival quality and antiqued with walnut ink, The Latin name of the plant is hand lettered across the bottom of the specimen. Inside the metal nameplate is the common name of the plant and a brief indication of the effect of the poison on the body.
It is framed in a hand distressed wooden frame roughly 20 inches tall x 16 inches wide. The back has been sealed with a dust cover and hanging hardware has already been affixed. It arrives ready-to-hang out of the box! The vintage metal nameplate is centered and the name is printed on thick watercolor paper that has been sealed to prevent UV fade and water damage. The back also houses my collection label, alerting you to the taxonomy of the specimen as well as its unique collection number – each specimen is one of a kind!
This collection can be customized. Although I may have framed pieces listed online for immediate sale, I have plenty of specimens waiting in backstock to be framed to order. Just contact me here or though my Etsy site to inquire.
- Poison Hemlock
- Water Hemlock
- Bittersweet Nightshade
- Hellebore/Christmas Rose
- Poison Ivy
- Castor Bean/Palm of Christ
Belladonna should be available by the fall of 2015.