From quiz nights pre-recorded open mics, finding ways to hold events has demonstrated wonderful creativity, but no idea has been so wonderful and quaint as HortSoc’s socially distanced opium garden. Posing as journalists from VICE, we were given an exclusive tour of the two acre farm of the devil’s poppy.

The Main Event

We started the tour with a look at the main event, the Papaver somniferum or opium poppies themselves! Equipped with facemasks and keeping a strict two metres from our guide, we walked through the fields of beautiful pink and scarlet red flowers, gazing at the pale green bulbs, and dreaming of the joys that they held inside. As we walked, we passed numerous English and History students armed with AK47s, some wearing balaclavas.

Opium Garden

Second Course

At the end of the garden, we found that these students were not just busy growing opium, but had also been planting a sizeable array of San Pedro cacti, lye plants, Mimosa hostilis, Psilocybe cubensis and a wonderful array of uppers, downers, screamers, laughers, poppers, donkey flippers, aphrodisiacs, “Johnny Onion Rings”, Belfield special, COVID-19 vaccinations, special K, banal K, Wheetos, fairy pills, E, oregano, bluechew, grass, Ukrainian bush reefer, purple haze, marihuana, Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, grout haze, drill bits, Salvia divanorum, Nag Champa, wolfies, school bus, liquid x, cat valium and something that smelled like weed.

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When asked what all these plants would be used for, we discovered that society members will often prepare their harvests into delicious snacks, such as the campus-famous HortSoc apple juice and dandelion wine. This summer, they plan to prepare traditional pipe opium, noting that extracting heroin would be too difficult and time consuming.

Seeing such a wide array of controlled substances has proven to this reporter that lockdown is what you make of it.

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