Garden of Evil
Salazar: So Mr. Kennedy, do you like my garden?Leon: I see you've been able to work in some of your twisted taste, here, too.
Distinctly unpleasant place to be, where all forms of life within are poisonous, corrupted, and extremely deadly. Often populated by sinister research experiments run amok, the garden can also serve as a protective barrier for a villain's lair. This is the plantlife of Mordor.
There is probably a hedgemaze—quite possibly mobile.
May be under a Curse.
Scale can vary greatly. A common type of Death World consists entirely of this. In instances where the garden grows, expect The End of the World as We Know It. See The Lost Woods, The Hedge of Thorns, Man-Eating Plant, When Trees Attack and Lost in the Maize. No relation to the garden of Sinners.
Not to be confused with the 1954 film starring Gary Cooper.
- In Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind almost the entire world appears to be covered in an ever-growing forest that releases a deadly miasma that kills in a single breath, victims often ejecting fountains of blood from their mouths. To add to this, the forest is protected by often aggressively territorial insects the size of houses. Nausicaa secretly grows forest plants on pure water to find that it's not the plants themselves that are poisonous, it's the polluted soil they are growing in. The end of the manga reveals that the plants were genetically modified Just Before the End to purify the polluted world.
In the manga there is also an utopic garden, where the forest has finished purifying the land, that turns out to be a Garden of Evil because humans can no longer survive in such clean air, their lungs having become adapted to the polluted atmosphere.
Comic Books[edit | hide]
- Batman villain Poison Ivy tends to constantly be making these for bases of operations.
Fairy Tales[edit | hide]
- The deadly hedge of thorns around Sleeping Beauty's castle in both folklore and the Disney version.
- Minority Report has a greenhouse of evil, filled with dangerous plants which also move. Subverted in that the owner is a benign but disconnected researcher and one of the hero's temporary allies. Amusingly enough, she also has to supply an antidote to said hero after he gets stung on the neck by one of her prize plants.
- There were two in Jumanji. One had a prehensile tongue-like vine that could pull people towards its mouth where it presumably planned to eat them. The vine had enough strength to fold a police car. The second variant were purple flowers that shot out poisonous barbs.
- Most of Labyrinth is set in one of these, albeit a PG-rated one where the traps and flora incapacitate you (or make you smell really, really bad) rather than kill.
- Except "the Cleaners."
- The poppy field in The Wizard of Oz (which was also in the book).
- The Aeon Flux movie features a biotech security system that includes human-detecting razor grass and what appeared to be machine-gun ... fruit?
- Isla Nublar from Jurassic Park is an example both in the book and the movie: Lush, tropical vegetation, well-kept park infrastructure and lots of dinosaurs. Mostly of the carnivorous kind.
- Octave Mirbeau's Le Jardin des supplices (The Torture Garden) might be a possible candidate for Ur Example here, as it was first published in 1899.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "Rapaccini's Daughter" features an even earlier poisonous garden created by a mad scientist—and his daughter is the only one who can survive to walk in it, because she's been engineered to be just as poisonous as all of the plants.
- In Thomas Disch's The Genocides, aliens gradually transform Earth so that their uncanny, tree-like Plants cover the entire land surface. Doing away with the human race makes this project easier to complete.
- The Wheel of Time series contains the Blight, a continent-spanning rain forest situated past the northern fringes of civilization, filled with ancient biological experiments. Trees scream and attack animals that walk beneath, and everywhere are deadly creatures not even mages (or even the Dark One's own minions, often enough) dare face. Somewhere beyond it is the Dark One's lair. References to its accelerating expansion are made throughout the series, as a sign that the Last Battle is approaching.
In the second book it is said that the Blight has retreated a few hundred meters, implied to be a result of a major victory by the protagonists in the first book. It didn't last.
- Ernst Stavro Blofeld, under the alias "Doctor Shatterhand", has one of these in the grounds of a Japanese castle in the James Bond novel You Only Live Twice. It becomes popular as a place for disgraced Japanese to seek an honourable end.
- Probably the ultimate example would be in Harry Harrison's novel Deathworld. Due to a misunderstanding, the very peculiar wildlife on the titular planet has altered itself to wage war against humanity, changing to the point where even every blade of grass has a venomous claw dangling from it.
- The Book of Amber (first series) features the Black Road, a pathway through universes that started out in the middle of a ring of mushrooms and spread from there, corrupting everything it touched toward the side of Chaos. At one point the hero- and obstacle-of-sorts have to duel through the Road; the hero utilizes his knowledge of the grabby grass to his advantage.
- Young-adult fantasy adventure novel Blade of the Poisoner features a deadly garden in the realm of a tyrant obsessed with poisons and entropy.
- Terry Brooks has written a few; among them, there's the Maelmord from The Wishsong of Shannara, the living forest on Shatterstone in Voyage of the Jerle Shannara, and the living garden protecting the Black Elfstone in First King Of Shannara.
- In the source novel for The Shining, the movie's innocuous hedge maze was instead intelligent, evil topiary animals that moved only when you weren't looking.
- In JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (book and film), the Morgul Vale and the Dead Marshes are exactly such a place, with poisonous flowers, glowing undead pools, etc.
- In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Traitor General, the Untill. (Short for "untillable.") Canopy so thick that night and day are the same, filled with giant insects, including poisonous moths.
- In Lee Lightner's Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf novel Wolf's Honour, the crops of the shadow world look like corn, but every leaf has a human face, screaming, and pleading for release. What's worse, the Space Wolves can not stop to burn them; they will need the weapons that can do it. The Inquisitor explains this as the sacrifices to make the world.
- In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel False Gods, on Davin's moon, the battlefield having been transformed from a hot, dry forest to foggy marsh, it also contains hordes of walking corpses.
- The forest in Gathering Blue and Messenger, the sequels to The Giver, is sentient and selective of the people it wants passing through. Don't push your luck.
- In Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic books, Briar and his teacher Rosethorn have plant magic—anyplace you happen to piss them off can easily become a Garden of Evil, provided there's any plant life at all—and they often pack their own. For example, when the temple city where they live has to fight off a pirate attack, their contribution involves tying up the seeds of thorny, viny plants into packages, launching them onto the beach, and giving them a huge rush of magic to make them grow ultra-fast. The resulting tangle of plants is so high and thick that they can't even see the strangled, bleeding pirates underneath. Lady Zenadia from Street Magic has a different sort of Garden of Evil. How does she manage such lush courtyards in the middle of a desert city? She uses the corpses of teenage gang members as fertilizer.
- In Life of Pi, Pi lands on an "island" floating in the Pacific, consisting of algae and trees in symbiosis... which turns out to be carnivorous. The scene where he peels away layers of leaves from what he thinks is a fruit, and finds a human tooth in the middle, is Nightmare Fuel.
- One of the effects of the Sunbane in The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant is to turn an entire country into this, every few days. (With the intervening days being filled up by desert, rainstorms and pestilence, basically at random.)
- Much of the Labyrinth from The Death Gate Cycle is like this. The rest is more like Mordor. All of it is absolutely deadly.
- In the Uglies world, vast swaths of the (presumed American) wilderness have become a desert, and what isn't desert is taken over by the "white weed." The protagonist is told that the weed is a species of orchid that was very rare and very expensive, and scientists genetically modified the flower to grow faster and healthier. It soon became so invasive that it choked out all other forms of plant life and ruined the soil.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The Tower of the Elephant", the title Evil Tower of Ominousness is surrounded by a garden.
- In "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien one character, after watching a fellow soldier, recently unhinged by seeing his best friend blown to bits by an extremely powerful booby trap, systematically torture an unresisting baby water buffalo by shooting pieces off of it before finally killing it explicitly invokes the trope.
"Well, that's Nam,' he said. "Garden of Evil. Over here, man, every sin's real fresh and original."
- In Clark Ashton Smith's "The Garden of Adompha" The King and his evil sorceror have one such garden walled off in the palace for their own private use, wherein they graft human organs to the plants. Well until the King decides to kill his companion and bury him in the selfsame garden. It doesn't end well.
- One of the previous Games locals mentioned in The Hunger Games was a veritable Garden of Eden so beautiful most of the Tributes were too surprised to move when the Games started. However, it proved to be one of these soon enough—everything, from the water to the trees to the scent of the flowers, was poisonous.
- In the Apprentice Adept novels, the Orange Adept has power over plant life, so uses this trope for defense of the Orange Demesnes.
- In the Doctor Who serial The Seeds of Doom, the estate of mad botanist Harrison Chase is turned into one of these as the flora falls under the control of the Krynoid.
- The Shoikan Grove from the Dragonlance Dungeons & Dragons setting teems with undead creatures and plant monsters, and gives off a powerful aura of fear that can panic anybody who steps in unprotected.
- Hazlik, one of Ravenloft's less-prominent darklords, has grown one of these to defend his residence. Another short Ravenloft adventure concerned an ermordenung who used a hedge-maze Garden of Evil to lure victims.
- Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Warhammer 40,000--
- The realm of the Chaos God Nurgle is said to look like a rotting garden filled with various poisonous plants and nasty diseases.
- The entire planet of Catachan.
- On the planet Banshee in the Faraway System of Deadlands: Lost Colony, fully one-quarter of the largest landmass is filled with a Garden of Evil aptly named the "Toxic Jungle." Virtually everything there is poisonous to creatures not native to the biome, and it's even home to the odd "Rex". Hell on Earth didn't get off easy, either: back on Earth, most of the infamously-damp coastal areas in Washington State have become a home-grown Garden of Evil, complete with the requisite Man Eating Plants
- This is now taken Up to Eleven with the Phyrexian invasion and the transformation of the entire world into New Phyrexia.
- In Vampire: The Masquerade, some members of the Nosferatu clan have taken up gardening fungus. Though these aren't necessarily lethal, security-conscious Nosferatu can make them so; these mushrooms gardens can be acidic, poisonous, hallucinogenic, the size of trees, and often swarming with any number of the ghouled creatures the Nosferatu like to keep in the warrens. Occasionally, some of the fungus are actually mobile as well...
- Yu-Gi-Oh! gives us the "Black Garden" card, which turns battles into strange fights of attrition. Summoned monsters get their ATK points halved, and a plant token is summoned to the opposite side of the field when a monster is summoned.
Video Games[edit | hide]
- Secret of Evermore's final level, Omnitopia, features a Greenhouse of Evil containing a particularly nasty monster appropriately named the "Flowering Death." This fiend is near-invincible, and inflicts 999 damage on the hero should he be unfortunate enough to get too close when the greenhouse lights are on.
- World 7 of Super Mario Bros.. 3 is filled with Piranha Plants and their relatives.
- Many Castlevania games feature a garden/courtyard level.
- The Garden of Madness from Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow features creepy Lovecraftian plants in the background and plant-based monsters in the foreground. There's even a Skeleton Gardener to tend all of them.
- The previous game, Aria of Sorrow, featured the Floating Gardens. While the plantlife was actually rather pleasant, the garden itself didn't stay fixed in one location, as you randomly teleported from inside the castle to about a mile away floating in the sky whenever you went to the next screen.
- Castlevania 64 had a hedge maze. While not filled with corrupted plant life, the Frankenstein's Monster Gardner and two hounds that were initially just statues by the main entrance would chase you throughout the entire stage. It also had a rose garden, where the flowers are red from the blood that's used to water them.
- Castlevania Bloodlines featured a corrupted garden as part of the Versailles Palace stage. There's even a fountain that turns from water to blood as you walk through it.
- Castlevania: Lament of Innocence had a garden but it was mostly on the inside with random plant enemies due to engine limitations.
- Almost every Final Fantasy has at least one of these.
- Ravel's Maze from Planescape: Torment.
- The garden of Castle Salazar in Resident Evil 4, which was a hedgemaze full of mutant, Thing-inspired wolves called Colmillos.
- The entirety of Planet's surface in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, depending on your point of view.
- Dark Eden from Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain
- World of Warcraft--
- About a dozen different areas qualify, but the Plaguelands are probably the best example; two whole zones infested with The Undead and covered in orange mist, where most wildlife is either dying or diseased and the plants appear to be mutating into giant fungi.
- In a more Garden-y variety, you also have The Botanica from The Burning Crusade, essentially a giant greenhouse full of dangerous botanical experiments run rampant, and Freya's Conservatory from Wrath of the Lich King.
- The east wing of Dire Maul also qualifies, being an old elvish garden that's become tainted by the demons who since moved in, and where all the plants will now try to strangle or poison you.
- In Rosenkreuzstilette, Iris Sepperin's second stage is one of these, and to make matters worse, it has gravity flip traps.
- The Plant Stages in the Gradius series.
- Episode Four (The Truth) of Alan Wake has this, when Alan is escaping from the Cauldron Lake Lodge. Part of that escape involves making your way through a garden (complete with hedge maze) filled with Taken, since the direct route to Alan's friend Barry (and Barry's car) is blocked by a locked gate.
- The whole surface world of Caves of Qud qualifies. As a post-apocalyptic game inspired by Gamma World, you naturally expect the ruins to be infested with mutants and remnant killbots. But even Qud's jungles and caves are full of life (plant and animal both) who want to do bad things to you.
- To be more precise, Australia's brush is home to extraordinarily dangerous venomous animals, including the death adder, the Sydney Funnelweb spider, bulldog ants, and green ants, with the very least of them being merely agonizingly painful. In particular, green ants often infest suburban lawns, thereby making mowing the grass life-threatening.
- Even worse are the Indonesian-Australian stinging nettles of the genus Dendrocnide, often known as "stinging trees," or "stingers." All three species have large leaves covered with venomous, silica-tipped stinging hairs that can cause painful rashes that can sometimes last for months. There are numerous cases of humans, dogs and horses dying from being stung by the giant stinging tree and gympie stinger species.
- Ilha da Queimada Grande, home to five of the most venomous snakes in the world per square meter.
- The Alnwick Garden in the UK has a special section that consists entirely of poisonous plants, some of which are common garden plants. They even have a special licence to have coca and marijuana plants on display. Website here.
- Blackberry hedges. Blackberries are great, clipping them is not...
- Especially when they are overgrown with stinging nettles after some years of neglect.
- Poison ivy can be quite pretty in season, when its reddish hues are clearest, and spreads quickly into disturbed habitats such as neglected gardens.