You see daffodils, I see poison

Deer Gardener | By Elaine Nyeholdt

A fresh year to garden anew…an opportunity to try new varieties, change things around, move some over-crowded shrubs and hopefully plan an easier yard to maintain. This requires some enthusiasm and research. Arm-chair gardening is my favorite type, but it doesn’t look so great outside where it ought to be applied gardening.

This article is intended to verse us on the regionally available and deadly poisonous plants that need to be identified. Having grandchildren has caused me to re-think some very pretty plants that grow very well here. It seems to me that having children around multiplies and other children come around, they travel in packs… although my own youngsters know some plants that can be eaten, others may not. A good citizen should try to keep as safe a yard as possible. Placing unsafe plants in locations that are not easily accessible is also an option.

Educating our youngsters works best of all, once they reach an age to understand. I think of it with the old adage, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime”. You can’t be with children all the time, and the woods have plenty of poisonous plants to learn about, especially mushrooms.

I remember being very little and playing ‘house’ outside with other neighbour kids. We gathered ‘food’ and put it on a table in our play home. My own grandchildren still play ‘house’ and could make mistakes with poisonous plants. They do not set out to make mistakes like this, so education and providing their ‘food’ can prevent tummy aches or worse.

Some of the really common poisonous garden plants here are Azalea, Bleeding Heart, Blue Flag rhizomes, Broom, Buttercup, Daffodil, Colchicum (Autumn Crocus), Foxglove, Holly berries, Horse Chestnut, Hydrangea, Lily of the Valley, Larkspur (Delphinium), Lupine seeds, Monkshood, Nicotiana (Flowering Tobacco), Poison Hemlock (related to Carrots), Rhododendron, Wallflower, Wormwood (Artemisia related to Dusty Miller). The leaves of Potato, Rhubarb and Tomato are readily available here and very poisonous, fortunately they do not look particularly toothsome.

Many of these poisonous plants are carefully used by ‘specialists’ in homeopathic remedies or creams. Dabbling in this enterprise requires very intensive training, I do not recommend it.

See ‘Daffodils’ think POISON.

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