Experience fire at Kew Gardens
Fire is one of the four elements that have inspired the floral displays in the Princess of Wales Conservatory. See flickering flames represented by arches of fiery red, orange and yellow flowers, and light-seeking vanda orchids, and capture them for our Flickr photo challenge: Explosions of colour.
The element fire both destroys and creates life. In places like Australia, many plants have adapted to living with fire, which creates fertile ash covered ground. But fire is also used to clear tropical rainforest for agriculture, destroying habitats. The classical element fire includes the Sun and all forms of light, which plants depend on for survival.
Imagine the heat from the striking red leaves of foliage plants, and walk through floral arches that look like flickering flames.
Many plants interact with fire in fascinating ways – developing amazing adaptations to spread their seeds or help them get more sunlight. Learn more about these remarkable relationships in the Princess of Wales Conservatory, illustrated by breathtaking floral displays.
Light-seeking blue vanda orchids represent the classical definition of the element fire, which includes the Sun and light. Walk through their trailing roots under a bright floral archway.
Photography tips from IGPOTY's Philip Smith
15 Apr 2011
We love close-ups of flowers. But they are often a bit out of focus, or not very well lit – just not as exciting as you think they ought to be. How can this be improved?
Fire and light
The classical element ‘fire’ includes the Sun and all forms of light.
Plants, such as vanda orchids, need light to survive. Growing high-up in the rainforest canopy, their roots are strong and thick to help secure the plant to lofty branches, exposing them to as much light as possible.
This stunning blue vanda (Vanda coerulea) is responsible for the dramatic blues and purples seen in many cultivated vanda orchids, which can be seen in the floral displays.
Flickr photo challenge: Explosions of colour
Take part in our 'Explosions of colour' photo challenge and see your photos featured on Kew's website.
We're inviting all 'Your Kew' Flickr Group members to take part in the 'Explosions of colour' photo challenge at Kew Gardens and Wakehurst. All you need to do is take eye catching photos of plants, landscapes and nature at Kew Gardens and share them with the 'Your Kew' Flickr Group.
At the beginning of March, we'll showcase our favourites in a new Flickr Gallery and feature a selection on www.kew.org