Autumn in the garden at Kylemore was quite exciting this year. Usually it's jobs like pruning back, moving the geraniums closer to the house and generally clearing the old summer growth to let the ground breathe and cleanse in the cold.
It started with my discovery of a a rather nice Deadly Nightshade which had been hiding under a tree peony until its berries gave it away. Everything about this says "poison" and it is very poisonous indeed. So into the bin it went.
Then I found some delightful little psilocybin mushrooms growing out of an apple tree stump. Sweet little pointy mushroom, just perfect for a fairy to wear as a hat. I left them be. They're powerfully hallucinogenic, but not poisonous. And who am I to deny the fairies some rain cover, or something to dance around?
But my biggest surprise was a plant I had noticed in late summer, and assumed it was another invader from the the now-defunct compost heap, possibly a courgette plant, or maybe a pumpkin. When I finally got around to weeding the bed in October, my "courgette" had morphed into something much stranger
That really doesn't look like anything you might grill with a little garlic and lemon zest. And I really, really wouldn't if I were you. A consultation with the internet and it was identified as Datura Stramonium, otherwise known as Jimson Weed, Thorn Apple, Devil's Trumpet, and rather appropriately, Hell's Bells. Hallucinogenic and very toxic, even touching the leaves or seed pods can poison a person. Too dangerous for composting, I dithered and left it where it was. In a typical Glastonbury synchronicity episode we had two young occultist women to stay the following week ... and without any mention or prompting said that they had been looking everywhere for a Datura plant... You can guess the rest. Suitably packed and covered, our Datura went home with carefully vetted, responsible, adoptive parents to its forever family. Awwwww.