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PLANTASIA® supported by GSK

Enjoy Summer 2014 at Kew Gardens’ festival Plantasia, from 24 May to 7 September

8 May 2014

This summer, immerse yourself in nature’s healing sanctuary, ‘Plantasia’, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and experience the stimulating, transformative power of plants: from barefoot walking trails and a gin and tonics garden, to herbal remedy workshops and truly spectacular horticultural displays of beauty and wonder, visitors will see how life-enhancing plants and fungi affect human health in mind, body and soul at the stunning setting of London’s Kew Gardens.

Wander along the Barefoot Walk in the Arboretum: Balance on beams and hop across tree trunks and experience the different textures upon your soles that nature has to offer. From the moist, bouncy softness typical of rainforest floors, to the muddy ‘squelch’ zone, walkers will experience a stimulating physical reconnection with their surroundings.

Enjoy botanical cocktails in the splendour of the Gin and Tonics Garden on weekends and learn their forgotten medicinal properties as you sip and swirl (In the Secluded Glasshouse, weekends and bank holidays only, cash bar).

Scale new heights this summer, as Kew’s iconic Pagoda opens for the first time in eight years to visitors: Get your heart racing as you climb the spiral staircase to the top of this 50 -metre tall, 250-year-old building for breathtaking views across the Gardens and to the London landmarks beyond (Entry fee of £3.50 applies; Adults and children +5 only; Tickets available for timed entry from the gates).

Visitors will encounter a Healing Giant: A human-shaped, raised horticultural display showcasing the effects of plants on different parts of the human body. Walk around the face and find the natural skin treatments people have used throughout the ages. Reach the heart and encounter the plants commonly employed as love potions and aphrodisiacs. A visual touchstone of the festival, this beautiful work will embody the cultural, medicinal and scientific links between plants and man.

The Queens Garden at Kew Palace is to be permanently updated for the festival, to provide a chronological journey through of the different uses of medicinal plants, from traditional remedies to the plants which form the chemical basis of modern drugs. Inspired by this new garden, medical herbalist Christina Stapley will teach which herbs should be used to make a small medicinal garden at a one-off Herbs for Health workshop in July. Christina will provide guidance on the practical and safe home use of various herbs, along with how to gather, dry, store and preserve them (Sunday 6 July, 10.30 to 5.30pm, £55/£50 concessions. To book, call 0208 332 5626 or email adulted@kew.org.)

Children and adults alike will delight in engaging with roaming performers, from stories and tales with Mrs M’s Cart of Curative Curiosities, to a feverish game of Curious Croquet (during the children’s summer holidays) led by the singing, dancing and frightfully entertaining Kew Gardens World Croquet Team: Much more than a game of balls and mallets, this carnival of croquet is also an exciting journey into the healing power of plants.

Other activities for the summer include free drop-in Tai Chi sessions every Thursday and Sunday on Syon vista, decorated Marvellous Medicinal Trees throughout the Gardens and hands-on plant Lotions & Potions activities for children.

All of this will be set against a backdrop of spectacular swathes of floral colour on the Sensational Broadwalk, forming a visual feast for the eyes and showcasing the uplifting, inspiring and life-enhancing power of plants.

Ends

Notes to Editors

Opening hours during the festival: 9.30am – 6.30pm. Weekends and bank holidays close an hour later.

Last entry to the Gardens, the glasshouses, galleries and the Xstrata Treetop Walkway is 30 minutes before closing.

Admission: Adults £15.00, Concessions £14.00, free for children 16 and under (with an adult).

Visitor information: 020 8332 5655 or www.kew.org.

For images visit www.kew.org/images. Please contact the press office for a username and password.

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 pr@kew.org.

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 1.5m 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.

GSK – one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. For further information please visit www.gsk.com.

PLANTASIA is a registered trade mark of Dobbies Garden Centres Limited.