Get into the garden


School’s out for summer – and despite the wet weather, many children will be enjoying freedom and fresh air in the garden.

You may have already considered pond safety for toddlers and the need to put potentially lethal garden tools out of reach, but curious children may also put flowers or leaves into their mouths which are poisonous, while uninformed gardeners may brush against something which sets off an allergic reaction.

Many plants give off their own warning signs. Some have an unpleasant taste which reduces the likelihood of a dangerous quantity being eaten, while others just do not look edible.

Of course there are the usual suspects to watch out for – including monkshood (also known as aconitum), which is extremely toxic.

Often planted under trees or spring-flowering shrubs at the back of a border, bearing tall spikes of helmeted flowers in blues and purples in summer, all parts of the plant are poisonous and a skin irritant, causing burning of the lips and mouth, intense vomiting, diarrhoea and spasms.

Check out our gardening column in this week’s edition - available now.