Written on the iron gates leading into the Poison Garden at Alnwick (pronounced “ANN-ick”) Castle in northern England are the words, “These Plants Can Kill.” This is the warning Des Moines photographer Molly Wood saw as she arrived there to photograph some of the world’s most famous poisonous plants for her Fatal Floras series. Equally fascinating for their danger and symbolism, sixteen of these horticultural hazards, in various stages of their life cycle, are featured in the exhibition, The Poison Garden: Photographs by Molly Wood.
Molly Wood was born in Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. She received her Master of Arts in Art History in 1992 from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and her Bachelor of Arts in Photojournalism in 1987 from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. Wood was an Iowa Arts Council Fellow in 2018. Her work was included in the 2017 DUMA Biennial. In addition to making her photographs, Wood currently produces photo shoots for Meredith Brand Licensing in Des Moines and is an adjunct professor at Des Moines Area Community College.