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IncrEdibles; a voyage through surprising edible plants

Imogen Dent
12 April 2013
Blog team: 
I've been hearing more about the forthcoming IncrEdibles festival and it really sounds pretty amazing, even by Kew standards!

If you’ve ever wanted to row a boat out across a lake to explore a grotto underneath a giant pineapple, this will be your chance. And if, like me, you haven’t really contemplated giant pineapples before, well, this festival will be your chance to do just that – sit and contemplate one, raised on high on an artificial fruit island in the middle of the Palm House pond, as part of this summer’s celebration of incredible edible plants from around the world.

I’ve just seen the final designs for the poster we’ll be using to promote this extraordinary festival; so this is an exclusive preview of the image we hope you’ll be seeing across London and in the press this summer...

Poster for the IncrEdibles Festival

The colourful poster for Kew Gardens’ IncrEdibles festival

Tutti Frutti boating lake

Bompas and Parr, renowned for their unique brand of food-inspired interactive experiences, are coming to Kew to create the Tutti Frutti installation, including a boating lake and floating pineapple island. For those who don’t feel like rowing round the island, there’s also going to be a bridge, so you can walk across as well.

What’s more, there’ll also be a range of new displays and interactive exhibits, such as a giant tea party table with plants growing out of it, a bouncy carrot play zone for families, and a global kitchen garden featuring over 90 edible plants from all over the world.

At the weekends, you can get inspiration for your own edible gardening - Kew apprentices and students from the famous Kew School of Horticulture will be available at the Student Vegetable Gardens to chat about vegetable gardening techniques and the different types of produce they’re growing this year.

Photo of pumpkins

Delicious pumpkins and squashes make an appearance for autumn

Pumpkins and fungi

In the autumn, the festival’s due to enter a second phase. I haven’t yet heard all the details so I’ll be updating on this later in the spring when I know more. I do know that we’re planning to have no less than 16 different varieties of hardy pumpkins and squashes growing in beds along the Broad Walk. Hopefully the resulting display will be at its colourful best in good time for Halloween.

The other focus for autumn is going to be on fungi. You can learn more about common edible mushrooms as well as the other fungi used in food, such as that vital ingredient, yeast. Amazingly, without the humble yeast, we’d have no beer or wine, and our only bread would be flatbreads like tortillas!

We’re hoping that visitors will enjoy learning more about the extraordinary stories of edible plants and fungi as they visit Kew Gardens this summer and autumn. I’m certainly picking up some fascinating facts already. I’m sure I’m not the only one who loves her daily cups of tea but I’d never really thought before about the fact that I’m drinking boiled camellia leaves...

- Imogen -


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