Kew’s new Mediterranean festival is set to give a boost to the market for plants from the region.
The festival features the first ever beach at Kew, Mediterranean cuisine, and a host of plant features.
The botanic garden has organised the festival in response to climate change, which means that the growing season is now a month longer than a century ago, although warmer and drier weather means water-loving plants are suffering and new plant pests are thriving.
Curator Nigel Taylor said: “The festival is about introducing the plants the public is going to be able to grow in the future as our climate changes. Many people have seen them on holiday in the Med — hence the beach — but not realised how easy they are to cultivate. Who would have thought we’d have a beach at Kew? This is a great opportunity to see how you can change your own garden.”
He added that growing Mediterranean plants could allay pressure from hosepipe bans and flash flooding caused by paving over gardens, and also encourages wildlife.
Head of public programmes and curatorial support John Lonsdale said: “We’re very keen on family -visits and the Mediterranean festival gives us a chance to talk about climate change and species appropriate for private gardens. It has great potential.”
The Garden Company, based at Wyevale Garden Centre in Chipperfield, Hertfordshire, carried out the work.
The festival also features a dry garden, a demonstration on how to make olive oil, lavender plantings and a cork exhibit. The festival runs until 9 September.
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