Highlights of an autumn visit to Kew Gardens in 2013
Autumn at Kew Gardens this year looks set to be even more colourful than usual. The ever-popular pumpkins will be returning and our IncrEdibles festival will be shifting into its autumn phase with the opportunity to learn all about fascinating fungi and much more.
An IncrEdibles Autumn
Since autumn is the season of fruitfulness it’s appropriate that this year’s IncrEdibles festival runs through until 3 November. If you’ve been on the London Underground recently, you may have noticed our striking IncrEdibles posters. There’ll be a new autumnal design coming for the second phase of the festival, so watch out for a new image with stunning colours.
Colourful autumn pumpkins and squashes will be growing along the Broadwalk, with more pumpkins decorating the Waterlily House this October. Other new displays will focus on the extraordinary world of fungi. The button mushrooms we can buy so readily in any supermarket are only the beginning of a whole world of fascinating species, stories, and flavours.
The Global Kitchen Garden
One of my favourite parts of IncrEdibles so far is the Global Kitchen Garden. I don’t have a garden of my own and this is pretty much my dream garden! Edible plants of every kind, from all around the world, have been planted in a series of raised beds near the Lilac Garden. Round the outside are fruit trees and arches with fruiting climbers; in the raised beds you can find everything from plants you’ll recognise instantly through to the most extraordinary exotics.
At the centre a global map tells you more about their origins and the journeys they’ve made from their native habitats to our tables here in Britain. There are salads, root vegetables, fruit bushes, seasonings and herbs and pretty much every kind of crop imaginable, and by early autumn they should all be at their peak.
A previous year's pumpkin display in the Waterlily House
There’s going to be bright foliage colour everywhere in autumn, with scarlet vines, fiery smoke trees and red and gold maples all around the Gardens. We have trees from all over the world in Kew’s arboretum, so almost any time from September to November you’re likely to find fall colour somewhere in the Gardens. If you climb to the top of the Treetop Walkway you’ll find the vistas are opening out as leaves begin to fall, giving you amazing views across the whole of west London.
Autumn foliage at Kew Gardens
Indoors, in the Princess of Wales Conservatory in autumn you’ll find orchids like the stunning necklace orchid (Coelogyne dayana) while late-flowering tropical waterlilies bring colour to the central pool. Look out too for agaves, cacti and living stones, and colourful heliconias, bromeliads and bananas in bloom. More banana species, as well as exotic sights such as cocoa pods and cycad cones, can be found in the iconic Palm House, and the changing displays in the Davies Alpine House feature colourful seasonal treasures from southern Africa and South America.
The dramatic flowers of a necklace orchid (Coelogyne dayana) in the Princess of Wales Conservatory
So whether you come for the festival or simply to enjoy Kew's stunning autumn colours, start planning your Autumn visit now!
- Imogen -