Escape winter and dive into a sea of exotic orchids at Kew Gardens
9 Feb - 3 March 2013
Photo-call and Press Preview: 7 February 2013
Photographers from 9.30am, journalists and broadcast from 10am
Wanting to escape to the tropics to avoid the winter weather? Then put 9 February 2013 into your diary. This marks the opening of ‘Orchids’, when Kew’s Princess of Wales Conservatory is transformed into a sea of glorious flowers. It’s a celebration of the colour, drama and beauty associated with this extraordinary and diverse group of plants.
Vibrant orchids will dominate the lush, wet tropical zone of the Princess of Wales Conservatory. Stunning displays of swirling colour will adorn the glasshouse pillars and arches. Hanging baskets will explode with a range of colours, creating waves of magnificent hues.
A small army of staff and volunteers will recreate the majestic Victoria amazonica from orchids, in the central Princess of Wales Conservatory pond, the glasshouse is already home to Kew’s collection of spiky bromeliads. This will capture an artistic impression of this famous, giant waterlily flower in all its glory. An eye popping colour palette will dominate the top ridge of the Princess of Wales Conservatory, with a 6m x 3m wall of richly coloured vandas at the end of a path of vibrant arches weaving through the glasshouse in a rainbow of shades of deep oranges, ruby reds and sunshine yellows.
The Victoria amazonica, the crown jewel in the Nymphaeaceae family can be seen in the Princess of Wales Conservatory in all its splendour in the summer months. It lives along the backwaters of rivers in the Amazon basin in the Guianas Amazonia National Park and the Pantanal, which is the world’s largest wetland stretching across Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay.
Kew is home to one of the world’s oldest and most comprehensive species orchid collection. The Princess of Wales Conservatory displays a small part of the collection on rotation. These fascinating wild plants can be visited all year round, and in February will be complemented by orchid hybrids as part of the ‘Orchids’ festival.
Phil Griffiths, Display Manager at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, says, “This year the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew is going to have thousands of richly coloured orchids on display. The wider variety of colour will create a warm and tropical escape from the wintry conditions of February, as well as complement our species orchid collection which represents Kew’s conservation work around the world.”
Behind the scenes tours...
A rare chance to enter the orchid zones of the Tropical Nursery – not usually open to the public - and learn firsthand the skills and techniques used to take care of Kew’s diverse collection. Speak to Kew’s orchid experts after a tour which is followed by either a practical demonstration on how to pot up and care for your orchids at home or a Q&A session.
£5 Thurs & Sat 1.30pm, 2pm and 2.30pm (Sat only) with Q&A session afterwards
£15 Thurs 2.30pm, with a demonstration afterwards
Booking essential: 020 8332 5604
A deliciously exotic chocolate and vanilla afternoon tea, available to enjoy with a glass of prosecco and pomegranate, can be had in the Orangery during the festival (booking is essential).
Warm up at our hot chocolate stations at Victoria Plaza and the Orangery, where you can customise your drink with ingredients such as fresh chilli, grated nutmeg and cinnamon quill dipping sticks.
‘Orchids for Beginners’ is a one day course aimed to give you the knowledge and confidence to be able to grow orchids successfully in your own home. Beginning with an introduction to the wonderful world of orchids, the tutor will then give advice as to the best varieties to grow and the steps involved in keeping them looking their best.
Wednesday 20 February
£50 (£45 Concessions, Premier Friends, Friends - maximum capacity 50 places)
Capacity is limited and booking is essential.
To book your place or for more details, call 020 8332 5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Growing Window Sill Orchids by Philip Seaton is all you need to keep these affordable, exotic plants happy and blooming. The best plants to buy, home-care, flowering year after year, avoiding pest problems, the science of orchids, their conservation and propagation, are explained in 60 sumptuously illustrated pages. Available at the Kew Shop or online (http://shop.kew.org/books-dvds/growing-windowsill-orchids.html)
Growing Hardy Orchids by Philip Seaton, Phillip Cribb, Margaret Ramsay and John Haggar introduces an exciting array of orchids from 47 diverse genera that can be cultivated in a cool greenhouse or outside, in their rightful place among other temperate garden plants. Available at the Kew Shop or online (http://shop.kew.org/growing-hardy-orchids.html)
Notes to Editors
For more information on the festival, or any of Kew’s work, please contact the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Press Office on 020 8332 5607 or email email@example.com
Images are available to download from http://www.kew.org/press/images/orchids2013.html. Please contact the press office for the username and password
For more information about orchids - http://www.kew.org/plants-fungi/for-gardeners/orchids/
For more information about Victoria amazonica - http://www.kew.org/plants-fungi/Victoria-amazonica.htm
More about the Princess of Wales Conservatory - http://www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens/garden-attractions-A-Z/Princess-of-Wales-Conservatory.htm
Orchids has been made possible by many generous donors to the Kew Fund. If you’d like to make a donation to Kew Fund visit www.kew.org/kewfund
• Opening hours during the festival: 9.30am – 5.30pm. Weekends and bank holidays close an hour later.
• Last entry to the Gardens, the glasshouses, galleries and the Xstrata Treetop Walkway is 30 minutes before closing.
• Admission: Adults £16.00*, concessions £14.00* (*includes £1.50 voluntary Gift Aid donation) and free for children under 17 (with an adult)
• Visitor information: 020 8332 5655 or see our visit kew pages.
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding living collection of plants and world-class Herbarium as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world. Kew Gardens is a major international visitor attraction. Its landscaped 132 hectares and RBG Kew’s country estate, Wakehurst Place, attract nearly 2 million visitors every year. Kew was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2009. Wakehurst Place is home to Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. RBG Kew and its partners have collected and conserved seed from 10% of the world's wild flowering plant species (c.30, 000 species). The aim is to conserve 25% by 2020, and its enormous potential for future conservation can only be fulfilled with the support of the public and other funders.
Kew receives funding from the UK Government through Defra for approximately half of its income and is also reliant on support from other sources. Without the voluntary monies raised through membership, donations and grants, Kew would have to significantly scale back activities at a time when, as environmental challenges become ever more acute, its resources and expertise are needed in the world more than ever. Kew needs to raise significant funds both in the UK and overseas.
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