Kew's Summer Festival: Incredible Edibles

Tom Hare's sculptures in Kew Gardens © RGB Kew
Kew Gardens , Kew Saturday June 8 2013 0:00

Kew’s festival, which began in the summer, changes with the seasons and now ventures into its autumn phase, highlighting the extraordinary diversity of edible plants at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

There’s a focus on fungi with Tom Hare’s Fungi Fairy Ring – gigantic mushroom scuttles made of woven willow that tower up to 4 metres tall along the Broadwalk.

There are daily walking tours uncovering the mellow fruitfulness abundant in the gardens (staring noon from Victoria Plaza), which includes hundreds of pumpkins along the Broadwalk and a 4-metre-high pyramid of squashes in the Waterlily House. The focus on gourds continues with pumpkin carving (outside the Waterlily House at half term (Oct 26-Nov 3, 11am-3.30pm), as well as Halloween face painting for kids (in the Climbers and Creepers area on the same dates as above).

The Global Kitchen Garden, on the Great Lawn opposite Kew Palace, features more than 90 edible plants from around the globe – including grape vines and pomegranate and olive trees – along with stories about their origins and cultural heritage. Coffee connoisseurs should head for the Princess of Wales Conservatory, where there’s a chance to see a coffee plantation and learn about the 100 species of coffee now known to science.

Venue name: Kew Gardens
Opening hours: Daily 9.30am-5.30pm; Mar 30-Aug 25: Mon-Fri 9.30am-7.30pm; Sat, Sun, bank holidays 9.30am-5.30pm; Winter 9am-4.15pm
Transport: Tube: Kew Gardens Rail: Kew Bridge
Price: Incl with Kew admission (£16, £14 concs, under-17s free)