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Mediterranean Summer at Kew Gardens

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

A Mediterrean Summer is much closer than you think. From now until September 9, 2007, visitors to Kew Gardens can soak up the flavour of the Mediterranean on their very own doorsteps. There’s even a beach where children can play.

There are, in fact, five Mediterranean regions in the world and although they cover only 2% of the earth’s land surface, they hold 20% of its plant life. Its distinctive climate – warm wet winters, hot dry summers – is found in the region round the Mediterranean Sea, California, central Chile, south Australia, and the Western Cape of South Africa.

Each week from June 8, a plant from the region will go under the microscope. Included will be aromatic herbs such as rosemary and sage, chilli peppers, grapes, citrus fruit and, of course, olives, the timeless symbol of the Mediterranean. An authentic section of a Spanish olive grove has even been recreated in the Princess of Wales Conservatory.

And new for this year is the Pizza Garden which uses bedding plants split into segments to recreate a giant pizza. Herbs too play an important role, not just in the display but as an ingredient of this popular dish.

This is just a fraction of what Kew has to offer this summer. For more information (and there’s a great deal of it) visit Kew’s excellent website.