Kew's Tropical Extravaganza - bursting with biodiversity and dripping with colour
Press release, January 2010
Tropical Extravaganza runs from Saturday 6 February to Sunday 7 March 2010
Press Preview: Thursday 4 February, 10am
Visit the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew’s ‘Tropical Extravaganza’ and be transported from the frosts of February to a sizzling orchid oasis dripping with colour. Set in the balmy tropical zone of the Princess of Wales Conservatory, Tropical Extravaganza is a spectacle of thousands of vibrant orchids and bromeliads.
Kew Gardens is home to one of the world's oldest and most comprehensive collection of living orchids – the largest family of flowering plants on the planet – and this festival will showcase their broad diversity. It kicks off Kew’s Year of Biodiversity, a year long programme of events celebrating the importance of plants to us all in the UN’s International Year of Biodiversity.
- For more information about the Princess of Wales Conservatory please click here
Wander through the Princess of Wales Conservatory past bright bursts of colour erupting out of the tropical foliage. Tunnels dripping with orchids and bromeliads will lead visitors to the glasshouse’s central pond where an island made up of orchids and tropical plants with diverse colours and shapes will celebrate plant biodiversity. This dramatic display will include spiky Miltassias, spiralling Dendrobiums and cockleshell orchids (Prosthechea cochleata) with their octopus shaped flowers. Look out for Kew’s ‘roving’ volunteer guides in the Princess of Wales Conservatory, who will be on hand to chat to visitors about the displays and answer any questions you may have.
The festival is also an opportunity to learn about the diverse characteristics of orchids, their importance to people and vulnerability in the wild. The 25,000 described species of orchid range from the subtle and dainty to the flamboyantly glamorous, many of which are endangered and threatened in the wild. Orchids represent approximately 10% of the world’s flowering plants most of which thrive in the tropics. The Waterlily House will also be transformed with displays highlighting Kew’s work around the world to protect plants, particularly in biodiversity hotspots such as Madagascar.
Step behind the scenes...
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, (11 February to 4 March 2010), tour Kew's orchid nurseries in the Tropical Nursery, which are usually closed to the public. You'll find out about the techniques Kew's orchid experts use to care for the collection of living orchids. The tours are also an opportunity to ask about caring for tropical plants at home. While weekend visitors will be able to tour the entire Tropical Nursery every Saturday (13 February to 6 March 2010).
At 6,500 square metres the Tropical Nursery is even larger than the Temperate House and home to thousands of plants housed in 21 climatic zones. In here, thousands of plants are raised for research and display out in the glass houses.
Free Tropical Fruits hands-on sessions…
Throughout the festival RBG Kew’s volunteer guides will delight you with a display of tropical food – some familiar, some weird and wonderful (Wednesdays and Sundays, 2 to 4pm, Secluded Garden Glasshouse). Find out where they come from, how they grow and what they smell and taste like.
Learn how to Grow Orchids at Home…
Pick up a copy of ‘Growing Windowsill Orchids' (special offer price £3.50) by orchid expert, Philip Seaton from Kew’s Victoria Plaza shop, which is packed with tips on how to succeed with orchids in your home, including what to look for when buying orchids, caring for your orchid and how to get it to flower again year after year. Orchids that feature range from the popular Phalaenopsis (moth orchid) which can easily be picked up on the high street, to the butterfly orchid, Oncidium (commonly known as the ‘dancing ladies’) and the perennially popular slipper orchids.
- For further information about RBG Kew’s Tropical Extravaganza please contact the press office on 020 8332 5607 or email email@example.com.
- Images are available at www.kew.org/press/images/orchids2010.html please contact the press office for the username and password.
Notes to Editors
- Opening hours: 9.30am – 5.30pm
- Last entry to the Gardens, the glasshouses, galleries and the Xstrata Treetop Walkway is 30 minutes before closing
- Admission: Adults £13, Concessions £11, free for children under 17 (with an adult)
- Visitor information: 020 8332 5655 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Festival Webpage: http://www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens/whats-on/Tropical-Extravaganza-2010.htm
- Website: www.kew.org
Behind the Scenes Tours: All tours start in front of the White Peaks shop at 1.30pm, 2pm and 2.30pm, cost £5 per person, and are followed by a Q & A sessions with a member of the horticultural staff except Tuesdays and Thursday’s 2.30 tour, which is followed by an orchid potting demonstration and will cost £15 a person. Tours must be booked in advance by calling +44 (0)20 8332 5604 or emailing email@example.com. Tours are limited to10 places, on a first-come, first-served basis.
Growing windowsill orchids: For review copies, interviews with Philip Seaton, or images please contact the Kew Press Office on 020 8332 5607.
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 per cent of the world's wild flowering plant species (c.30, 000 species). The aim is to conserve 25% by 2020 and funds are being actively sought in order to continue this vital work. Support the work of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership by getting involved with the ‘Adopt a Seed, Save a Species' campaign www.kew.org/adoptaseed.
‘Biodiversity Year at Kew’ in 2010 will celebrate the importance of plant diversity in underpinning biodiversity through a programme of themed and seasonal horticultural displays, art exhibitions, educational activities for all the family and scientific announcements. The year kicks off with Tropical Extravaganza (6 February to 7 March 2010), a celebration of the world’s largest and most diverse family of plants – orchids. More information about the 2010 programme will be available in due course, please check www.kew.org/press/
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is part of the world-wide celebrations of 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity, and is one of over 300 UK organisations, charities and groups supporting this global awareness campaign. The diversity of life on earth is crucial for human well-being and now is the time to act to preserve it. For information on events, initiatives and exhibitions across the UK during 2010 visit www.biodiversityislife.net
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