Kew's Summer Festival: IncrEdibles
Time Out says(Mon Jan 14 2013) This year Kew's summer festival highlights the extraordinary diversity of edible plants at the Royal Botanic Gardens. The centrepiece – 'Tutti Frutti' – is the work of architectural foodsmiths Bompas & Parr. The pair have come up with another of their trademark bonkers concepts: a giant 'fruit salad' boating lake complete with a floating pineapple island. Tickets are available from the kiosk by the pond and all the boats have been designed to look like slices of papaya, melon, durian or pear. The Global Garden, on the Great Lawn opposite Kew Palace, features more than 90 edible plants from around the globe – including grape vines and pomegranate and olive trees – along with stories about their origins and cultural heritage. Coffee connoisseurs should head for the Princess of Wales Conservatory, where there's a chance to see a coffee plantation and learn about the 100 species of coffee now known to science. The green fingered can pick up tips on growing veg from Kew's apprentices and students at the school of horticulture (every Saturday and Sunday 11am-4pm at the Student Vegetable Plots). In the Palm House, where the emphasis is on the many exotic edible plants we consume, there's an opportunity to take a whiff of the durian (the stinky 'king of fruits' that divides opinion in south east Asia the way Marmite does in the UK). From July, outside in the Palm House parterre, new beds highlighting plant families will recall the parterre's practical war work growing produce to help feed the nation. And in October, as the festival draws to a close, the Broadwalk is expected to yield a particularly colourful autumn harvest featuring 16 different varieties of pumpkin and squash.