IncrEdibles: A Voyage through Surprising Edible Plants
25 May 2013 to 3 November 2013
*Photo-call (9.30am) and press preview / broadcast opportunities (10.30am) on Thursday 23 May*
Who would have imagined that Kew’s beautiful glasshouse, the Palm House, was not merely a tropical escape in the heart of London, but home to over 60 weird and exotic edible plants? This summer and autumn, Kew celebrates the amazing bounty of the plant world, inviting visitors to experience first-hand a selection of the 12,000 species we can feast on.
This festival will showcase the sheer number of edible plants growing in the Gardens. Visitors will be inspired to broaden their relationship with what they eat, by taking part in or observing the banquet of offerings that make up this fantastic festival. Whether they want to enjoy boating – back at Kew for the first time in over 100 years, stroll around a floating pineapple on the Palm House pond, travel the globe in our global kitchen garden, join a tea party with a twist, bask in a picnic garden, or attend incrEdibly interesting talks and workshops*, there is something for the whole family to get their teeth into. Aspiring fruit and veg growers will leave veritable experts, with Kew staff and volunteers on hand to share their hard earned knowledge.
These tasty edibles are sometimes beautiful, sometimes ugly, sometimes surprising and sometimes just plain weird. Kew works to protect this vital, and increasingly vulnerable, diversity**.
Dr Paul Smith, Head of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, says, “Our hope is that visitors will enjoy exploring the captivating stories of edible plants, and leave the festival with a fresh consideration for the food they eat and its origin, as well as the future of crops in the UK and around the world.”
“We already know of thousands of plants that are vitally important to us, but many more have the potential to be so in the future. We can't afford to let these plants, and the potential they hold, die out, which is why we have science programmes at Kew dedicated to researching and conserving these useful plants.”
The Tutti Frutti Boating Lake (with ‘architectural foodsmiths’ Bompas & Parr...)
Sat 25 May to Sun 1 September 2013
Opens at 10am (last boat ride 1 hour before closing), boating tickets available from kiosk by the pond). £4.50 Adults, £2.50 Kids
Bompas & Parr will be transforming Kew's Palm House Pond into a boating lake and participatory artwork, the centre piece of which will be a floating pineapple island, a symbol of Kew’s extensive bromeliad collection. The installation explores the experiential possibilities of edible fruit and provokes people to think again about the food that they eat every day.
Visitors can stroll over a walkway running across the water to the island, and watch the small colourful rowing boats, drift lazily past. Or they can hire a boat themselves, explore the pond, and enter the secret banana grotto beneath the pineapple (complete with the scent of banana!).
Sam Bompas from Bompas & Parr says, “A partnership with Kew makes complete sense for us - their concern with the world’s plant life directly provides us with our raw materials of creativity. Our design process always starts with a raw ingredient – be it fruit, alcohol, chocolate, or coffee. Trace any ingredient back far enough and you get to plants.
“We always like to think that our work encourages people to think again. By applying architectural techniques, we work to persuade people to look again at what is on the end of their forks.
“The same principle is equally applicable to Kew. The Gardens are an emerald treasury for London. By creating a sensational installation that problematises conventional views, it’s possible to persuade Londoners to become tourists in their own city. We defy them not to have fun.”
The Global Kitchen Garden
Sat 25 May to Sun 3 November 2013
The Global Kitchen Garden, situated on the Great Lawn opposite Kew Palace, will feature over 90 edible plants from every corner of the globe. Two semi-circular inner beds will be dedicated to herbs while five outer beds will represent different regions of the world including South America, West Asia and Europe. Grapes, pomegranate and olive trees will be planted in a circular design, and beautiful arches planted with climbers will make this a stunning space to explore. Visitors can discover where some of our best loved food plants have travelled from and be surprised by what they discover, and will also be introduced to some lesser known and slightly obscure ones!
The Picnic Garden (sponsored by Kinderhotels)
Sat 25 May to Sun 3 November 2013
Feeling fatigued from all that globe-trotting? Next to the Global Edible Garden, visitors can relax on a bench under a hop umbrella, after picking up their picnics from one of Kew’s onsite restaurants. Whilst relaxing on the picnic benches, they can learn more about plants used to make familiar drinks such as bloody/virgin Mary, cosmopolitan, pimms, lemonade and summer fruits cordial. Five steel planters will be placed in the garden and hold the ingredients for your favourite summer drink! Kids can also hunt for the ‘secret plant’ - if they find it they are in with a chance of winning a family holiday with Kinderhotels!
Rose Garden Tea Party
Sat 25 May to Sun 3 November 2013
Visitors are invited to Kew’s tea party, where a huge variety of different edible plants will grow out of plates, goblets, dishes, jugs and platters. Interactive riddles will give visitors the chance to guess what ingredients are needed to go into your favourite treats. They will be grouped and themed at each dining place, with the visitor sitting down to enjoy a story of edible plants. They can discuss what they see in front of them with their friends and family, move from one dining place to another looking at different themes surrounding edible plants, and take photos of each other relaxing on handmade chairs in Kew’s beautiful Rose Garden.
Palm House: The Tropical Larder
Sat 25 May to Sun 3 November 2013
Home to 60 edible plants, visitors will stumble into a tropical larder, with volunteer guides on hand at weekends (11am -2pm) to hold sessions looking at just how many of the everyday foods we eat have their roots in the rainforest. They can uncover the plants’ fascinating historical and cultural histories, and learn about how their survival is protected by vital conservation work around the world, a large amount of which is carried out by Kew Scientists and their partners. Visitors will also have the opportunity to be hands on with curiosity boxes, allowing them to get the feel for the yam or take a whiff of the durian fruit. Next door, things will be hotting up in the Waterlilly House, where 30 species of chillies will be planted alongside tropical edibles. Visitors will be able to pick up some spicy recipes to try at home.
Palm House Parterre
From July onwards the Palm House Parterre will be transformed into an edible display including aubergine, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, harking back to a time when it was used for purely practical reasons, to grow crops for the nation during the wars. Visitors who feel inspired will be able to pick up top growing tips from Kew’s horticulturalists.
Alongside the parterre, Kew’s Broadwalk will be planted up with 16 different varieties of pumpkins and squashes which will provide a splash of colour for the festival’s autumn phase (starts 5 Oct), when slightly less colourful but equally fascinating fungi will take centre stage.
Get Inspired, Grow Your Own...
Student Vegetable Plots
Sat 25 May to Sun 1 Sept 2013
Advice – Every Sat & Sun, 11am - 4pm, free
Visitors can admire the work of the students from the school of horticulture and get inspired to go home and get planting themselves. Students and apprentices will encourage visitors to grow their own by offering advice about seed sowing, transplanting and demonstrated techniques to get the most out of your vegetables. Students will also answer any questions that visitors may have.
Family Workshops (sponsored by Kinderhotels)
Sat 25 May to Sun 2 June 2013 and Sat 20 July to Sun 1 Sept 2013 (free)
2 - 4pm (Activities will be on a first come served basis, no booking required)
Munchbox at Climbers and Creepers
The whole family can explore edible plants through a series of exciting hands-on activities. Visitors can discover more about fruit and veg and make an incrEdible craft to take home.
Bouncy Carrot Patch
Giant inflatable carrot tops will be found outside the south end of The Princess of Wales Conservatory. Embrace your inner photographer to take some fun snaps of your friends and family to upload to the Kew website.
Plant Family Beds, Grass Garden, and Princess of Wales Conservatory
Sat 25 May to Sun 3 November 2013
The area that today contains the Plant Family Beds was originally a kitchen garden, supplying fruit and vegetables to the royal family. For the festival, Kew is once again highlighting the importance of these food families, which are arranged according to their relationships with one another. The Grass Garden, found opposite the Davies Alpine House, displays some of the world’s most economically important cereals and plants that are a regular feature at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Is our daily cup of coffee under threat? Visitors will be greeted at the Princess of Wales Conservatory with an infographic, showing that Arabica (one of the main components of high quality coffee) is likely to be extinct in the wild in about 70 years. Visitors can wander through the glasshouse, learn more about Kew’s conservation work with coffee, and reflect on the possibility that, thanks to climate change, coffee may not always be a feature of everyday life.
The Princess of Wales Conservatory film room will be showing a short film highlighting the importance of conserving the wild relatives of some of our most important crop plants, and Kew’s work through the Millennium Seed Bank to collect and save the seeds of this genetic store cupboard.
Fancy Something IncrEdible from one of our Onsite Restaurants?
Foraged dinners: Each month throughout the festival, The Orangery restaurant will play host to special Foraged Dinners where diners will be taken on a gastronomic journey, learning about the various edible plants present in Kew Gardens and how these can be incorporated into dishes. Tickets will include entry to Kew, a welcome foraged cocktail followed by a three course foraged dinner, featuring dishes such as Grilled Kentish asparagus, wood sorrel flower petals and Wild rose milk jelly, white and dark chocolate crumbs, candied pistachios. Our exclusive forager Yun Hider, will speak about foraging, how to forage and will demonstrate how these plants grow in the gardens.
Foraging Dinners cost £45pp. Dates, the last Thursday of every month: 30th May, 27th June, 25th July, 29th Aug, 26th Sept, 31st Oct.
Amazing Ice Cream: We will be churning our own ice cream to sell throughout the warmer months in Kew with incrEdible flavours! Think Liquorice, Honeyberry & Coriander Seed, Peach, Curry Leaf & White Chocolate and a Wild Rose & Douglas Fir sorbet. There will of course be the classics – chocolate, strawberry and vanilla – too.
Barbeque and beer: In the beautiful setting of the Pavilion, Peyton and Byrne will be keeping visitors fed with the very best barbequed Free Range chicken, all served with chilli sauces inspired by the chilli plants grown in Kew. Hearty sides including coleslaw with a twist and a summer salad will accompany the chicken and guests can sample ales, beers and ciders from Craft breweries around the country out on the lawn.
Snacks to take with you: Visitors can taste their way around Kew Gardens with the whole family. They can pick up a snack pack from one of the catering outlets and follow a trail to find the plant that each of the snacks come from.
For more information on the festival, or any of Kew’s work, please contact the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Press Office on 020 8332 5607 or email email@example.com
Images are available to download from http://www.kew.org/press/images/index_kew.html. Please contact the RBG Kew press office for a username and password
Notes to editors
Munchbox activities and The Picnic Garden are supported by Kinderhotels: Fantastic family holidays in the Austrian Alps with free childcare - www.kinderhotels.co.uk.
Talks, tours, and tastings
* Talks confirmed include Vegetable Growing for Novices with Christine Lavelle, ideal for new allotment holders or those starting with a veg patch: Wednesday 29 May, 10.30am – 4.30pm, The Jodrell Lecture Theatre, £55 / £50, 25 places max.
Also From Maize to Mungongo: Kew and Food Security in the 21st Century with Dr Paul Smith, a look at the organisation’s work with food security, Thursday 27 June , 7pm, The Jodrell Lecture Theatre, £5 / £4.
Kew’s volunteer guides will be offering ‘Palatable Plant’ tours where visitors can tour the festival and gain a unique insight into edible plants from our excellent volunteers. Saturday 25 May to Sun 1 September, 12pm & 2pm, starting at Victoria Plaza
There will also be themed talks, food demonstrations, and tastings at Victoria Plaza, where there will be a range of incredible inspired merchandise available. Visitors should check www.kew.org/events closer to the festival opening
**Support Kew’s research work on wild edible plants
With four plant species at risk of extinction every day, it’s never been more urgent to protect the endangered plants which may be key to our survival. For £25 you can adopt the seed of a plant species to ensure its preservation. To celebrate IncrEdibles, two edible seeds are now up for grabs - Solanum tomentosumm, a wild relative of the aubergine with bright orange berries, and Coffea pterocarpa, a Madagascan wing-fruited coffee, discovered by Kew in 2000. www.kew.org/adoptaseed
The 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 1.5 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.
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