Gardening events and Kew news

Visitors can then continue their edible adventure at home, with Kew’s Global Kitchen Cookbook, featuring 101 recipes using edible plants from around the world, available to buy now.

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IncrEdibles: A Voyage through Surprising Edible Plants

New Activities for Autumn – 5 October to 3 November 2013

This autumn, Kew continues to celebrate incredibly edible plants with a veritable feast of activities, focussing on the fantastic fungi and eye-popping pumpkins symbolic of the season. All of these activities are set amongst a beautiful autumnal landscape, yet another reason to visit Kew this October.

Visitors to the festival will be inspired to broaden their food horizons (there are actually over 12,000 different edible plant species humans can feast on!), with a number of art installations, horticultural displays, children’s activities, and talks and tours, all designed to educate, entertain and enthral hungry minds. There really is something for the whole family to get their teeth into at Kew!

Visitors can then continue their edible adventure at home, with Kew’s Global Kitchen Cookbook, featuring 101 recipes using edible plants from around the world, available to buy now.

RaflesiaDr Bryn Dentinger, Head of Kew’s Fungarium, says, “I am delighted about the festival’s focus on fungi, they are too often overlooked. With the first official Red List for fungi in Britain recently published, it is a momentous time for the conservation of fungi in the UK. This event is an opportunity to raise awareness about their importance to the health of the planet, their role as the hidden benefactors of most edible plants, and to celebrate their amazing, and often delicious, diversity.”

Fantastic Fungi

Fungi Fairy Ring
Broadwalk – Now to 3 Nov
Sculptor Tom Hare returns to Kew this year with a newly commissioned sculptural installation, Fungi Fairy Ring. Working with Kew’s mycologists, Hare has created a series of gigantic sculptures using woven willow, representing seven different species of native edible fungi, all of which can be found in Kew’s Fungarium. These include representations of the Chanterelle (Canthaerellus cibarius), Common Morel (Morchella esculenta), Field mushroom (Agaricus campestris), Horn of Plenty (Craterellus cornucopioides), Parasol mushroom (Macrolepiota procera), Porcino (Boletus edulis) and the Shaggy Inkcap (Coprinus comatus). Towering up to 4m high, Hare’s sculptures lining the Broadwalk magnify the miniscule, and encourage visitors to appreciate the beauty of fungi.

UK Fungus Day – Fungarium tour
Jodrell Laboratory – 13 Oct
£5 adults/£4 concessions, 30 minute tours between 11am and 4pm, 15 people per tour, pre book via [email protected]
To celebrate UK Fungus Day, Kew’s Fungarium invites visitors to take a rare behind-the-scenes tour. Kew’s Fungarium is the largest collection of dried fungi in the world, with an estimated 1.25 million specimens, dating back to as early as 1780. Meet the mycologists and see some fascinating specimens from the collection, including samples collected by Charles Darwin during his voyage on the HMS Beagle; a dried culture of the original strain of Penicillium notatum isolated by Alexander Fleming during his discovery of penicillin; as well as the deadly Deathcap mushroom and the ‘life-giving’ Mushroom of Immortality from East Asia.

UK Fungus Day – Fungi ForayFungiGardenwide – 13 Oct
11am to 1pm/ 2pm to 4pm, £12pp, 20 people per tour, pre book via  
If you haven’t had your fill of fungi yet, join mycology experts as they venture out into the Gardens, with hints and tips on identifying mushrooms and toadstools lurking in the undergrowth.

International Garden Photographer of the Year – Bountiful Earth
Nash Conservatory – 5 Oct to 3 Nov
The exhibition features all the winning images from this year’s competition, as well as a unique collection of photos from the IGPOTY archives representing a ‘Bountiful Earth’. From fungi in the forest, to gourds in the garden, these images explore the beauty of edible plants and fungi.

Magical Mushrooms – Hands-on sessions
Nash Conservatory – Weekends of 5 & 6 Oct/ 12 & 13 Oct/ 19 & 20 Oct and half term (26 Oct – 3 Nov), 11am to 1pm
Visitors get the chance to learn about fungi through simple science. Using a specially created glass tank, discover the secret world of fungi and see the underground network of fine threads called mycelium. Examine fungi specimens under a microscope and get hands on with straw bales inoculated with oyster mushroom spores.

Fungi Fun – Family workshops
Munchbox – Weekends of 5 & 6 Oct/ 12 & 13 Oct/ 19 & 20 Oct and half term (26 Oct – 3 Nov), 2pm to 4pm
Ever wondered how a mushroom gets its spots? Drop in for free art and education workshops, where children can build a plasticine model of their favourite fungi, adding their creation to a mass participation artwork recreating a woodland forest floor.

Eye-Popping Pumpkins

PumpkinsPumpkin Parade
Broadwalk – Now to 3 Nov
Kew’s Broadwalk is adorned with hundreds of pumpkins, gourds and squashes this autumn, from the traditional looking Gold Fever variety (Cucurbita pepo), the pale floral Moonbeam (Cucurbita pepo) and the aptly titled Turk’s Turban (Cucurbita maxima). Pick up handy recipe ideas along the way, all incorporating this versatile vegetable.

Pyramid of Pumpkins
Waterlily House  – 5 Oct to 3 Nov
Enter the Waterlily House and be amazed by a towering pyramid of pumpkins rising 4m up out of the pond. 75 different types, including the fairytale titled Cinderella, Munchkin and Peter Pan varieties have been used to create the installation, some of which are beautifully painted, drawing inspiration from their names.

Pumpkin carving
Outside Waterlily House – Weekends of 5 & 6 Oct/ 12 & 13 Oct/ 19 & 20 Oct and half term (26 Oct – 3 Nov), 11am to 3.30pm
Catch Tony Finch, master vegetable grower, showing off his traditional pumpkin carving skills for visitors. Tony’s carved creations are available to buy, or why not take home your own pumpkin and give it a try? Pick up hints and tips on how to carve your pumpkin, and be inspired by his designs, just in time for Halloween!

Face Painting 
Climbers and Creepers – Weekends of 5 & 6 Oct/ 12 & 13 Oct/ 19 & 20 Oct, 10.30am to 5pm, and half term (26 Oct – 3 Nov), 10.30am to 3.30pm
Enjoy pumpkin and spooky themed face painting for children big and small.

Vintage Vegetables

Vegetable Medley
Palm House Parterre – Now to 3 NovVegetable Medley
The Palm House Parterre has been transformed into an entirely edible vegetable display, evoking the memory of when demonstration plots were created outside the Palm House during the World Wars, encouraging the public to ‘Grow Your Own!’. Planted with nearly 13,000 edibles, including 3,200 ‘Prinz’ celeriac, 1,600 ‘Super Chillis’ and 1,520 ‘Bull’s Blood’ beetroot, visitors will be inspired to get planting.

The Barrowband
5 & 6 Oct – Victoria Plaza (10am to 11.30am) & The Global Kitchen Garden (1.30pm to 2.30pm/ 3.30pm to 4.30pm)
To celebrate the launch of the Autumn phase of IncrEdibles, fun folk troupe The Barrowband are performing songs from their recent album Vegetables and Fruit, featuring an all singing, all dancing fruit and veg barrow!

Mellow Fruitfulness – Daily walking tours
Starting from Victoria Plaza – Now to 3 Nov, 12noon
Join this tour celebrating fruits, seeds and the colourful bounty of autumn.

Curious Coffee

Soul of Coffee (curated by Nespresso)

Madagasgan winged fruit

Coffea pterocarpa (Image: Aaron Davis)


Outside the Princess of Wales Conservatory –  Now to 3 Nov
This outdoor photography exhibition showcases images by internationally renowned photojournalist and celebrated humanitarian REZA. The exhibition, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Nespresso AAA Sustainability Programme, portrays and pays tribute to the farmers and communities from around the world who produce the highest quality coffee through sustainable methods.


Coffee: From Crop to Cup
Jodrell Lecture Theatre – 26 Sept
7pm, £5 adults/£4 Friends of Kew, pre book via 
Come and hear Dr Aaron Davis, Head of Coffee Research at Kew, talks about the science, conservation and consumerism behind our daily pick me up.

Last Chance to Experience ..

• Palm House: The Tropical Larder – Until 3 Nov

• Rose Garden Tea Party – Until 3 Nov

• Global Kitchen Garden – Until 3 Nov

• Picnic Garden (supported by Kinderhotels) – Until 3 Nov

• Bouncy Carrot Patch – Until 3 Nov

Ravenous Retail

Rose Garden Tea Party Table Ceremics


Selected ceramics decorated with botanical artwork, as featured on the Rose Garden Tea Party table, are now available to buy from Victoria Plaza Shop (prices from £14.50 to £45).

Kew’s Global Kitchen Cookbook
Introduction by Carolyn Fry, Kew Publishing, Oct 2013, £14.95,
This cookbook is a celebration of the amazing variety of edible plants and the different ways we can use them. There are over 101 recipes using edible plants from all over the world, including truffle crepes, orange vacherin, sweetcorn and crab fritters, and pineapple cheesecake with chilli. In addition, chapters on herbs and spices offer tips on using and combining different flavours, as well as explaining their exotic origins.

The book tells the story of edible plants and how our perception of them have changed over time. Plants which are now regarded as common place in cookery, were once seen as exotic and highly valuable. Each plant has undertaken its own adventure to reach our plates today, and these historical, botanical and economic themes are brought to life through beautiful botanical illustrations from Kew’s archives.

Underlying the book’s celebration of edible plants is a message at the core of Kew’s conservation work; if we are to continue relishing these recipes, we must preserve this global plant diversity for the future.

Kew insect eatingThe Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding living collection of plants and world-class Herbarium as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world. Kew Gardens is a major international visitor attraction. Its landscaped 132 hectares and RBG Kew’s country estate, Wakehurst Place, attract over 1.5m visits every year. Kew was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2009. Wakehurst Place is home to Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. Kew receives approximately half its funding from Government through the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Further funding needed to support Kew’s vital work comes from donors, membership and commercial activity including ticket sales.

© Kew News – September 2013

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