Explore the magic of Madagascar with Kew Gardens’ 2024 Orchid festival
Saturday 3 February – Sunday 3 March 2024 at the Princess of Wales Conservatory
PRESS PREVIEW FROM 10AM THURSDAY 1 FEBRUARY, RSVP TO PR@KEW.ORG
Release date: 15 January 2024
- 2024 Orchid festival celebrates the beauty and biodiversity of Madagascar
- Enjoy stunning horticultural displays across the glasshouse
- Learn more about RBG Kew’s Madagascar Conservation Centre
- £1 entry for recipients of Universal Credit, Pension Credit and Legacy Benefits
- Supported by Cazenove Capital
Kew Gardens’ much-loved Orchid festival returns for 2024, taking over the Princess of Wales Conservatory from Saturday 3 February to Sunday 3 March.
Kew’s 28th Orchid festival draws inspiration from the unique flora and fauna of Madagascar, the world’s fourth largest island and home to Kew’s third research site. Madagascar’s lush rainforests, tropical dry forests and over 3,000 miles of coastline will be reflected in an extravaganza of themed floral displays and living installations, created by Kew’s team of horticulturists to transform the Princess of Wales Conservatory into a colourful celebration which never fails to brighten up the winter months.
A newly commissioned film showcasing the spectacular beauty of Madagascar will also be screened as part of the festival, promising to transport visitors to this unique environment. Alongside this, a bespoke soundscape will fill the Princess of Wales Conservatory with the sounds of Madagascar, evoking the ambience of this incredible island using material recorded firsthand.
Kew’s Madagascar Conservation Centre
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has been working in Madagascar since 1986, and today has 40 researchers based at our third research site, the Kew Madagascar Conservation Centre, where they are working with Malagasy partners and communities to protect the island’s unique floral biodiversity. Home to an array of landscapes, from vast grasslands to tropical forests and deserts, the ecosystems found on Madagascar support a wide range of endemic plants and wildlife - species which are found nowhere else on earth.
Today, the megadiverse flora and fauna of Madagascar is critically threatened and under increasing pressure. As part of Kew’s ongoing work in Madagascar, our team of Malagasy scientists, students and support staff work with collaborators, local partners, and communities across the island to safeguard rare plant species, protect natural habitats, improve livelihoods and increase food security, with the overall aim of conserving the ecology of this unique island for generations to come.
A horticultural extravaganza
Across the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew Gardens, a series of stunning horticultural displays will celebrate the unique biodiversity of Madagascar as part of the Orchid festival. One of the most iconic symbols of the island, the
Lovers Baobab, will be recreated in a breathtaking display on the waterlily pond. Baobabs in western Madagascar form a vital part of the dry deciduous forests, playing an essential role in this unique ecosystem; notably promoting nutrient recycling and preventing soil erosion, as well as providing a vital source of food, water and shelter for an array of animal life.
Alongside this striking central installation, visitors will encounter floral sculptures recreating some of Madagascar’s most iconic wildlife, including ring-tailed lemurs, chameleons and the enigmatic aye-aye, the world’s largest nocturnal primate. Visitors will also be able to see a small selection of Madagascan orchids on display as part of the festival, including Angraecum sesquipedale. Also known as Darwin’s orchid, this beautiful white star-shaped plant features a nectary around 30cm long. Darwin hypothesised that such a flower could only be pollinated by a creature with a similarly long tongue, that had evolved alongside the flower. Darwin’s species prediction was indeed accurate, and in 1903 Xanthopan morganii praedicta (the Malagasy subspecies of the African hawkmoth – now called Xanthopan praedicta) was described by science. This huge moth has a wingspan of 16cm and proboscis that exceeds 20cm.
Throughout the Princess of Wales Conservatory, a mixtape of Malagasy music composed by the Boriza Borothers will bring the festival to life. Visitors will also be able to purchase festival food which celebrates the tastes and flavours of authentic Malagasy recipes, with a menu curated by Malagasy chef Lilia Andrianovy of Lilia’s Kitchen. As well as this, visitors to the Orchid festival will also be able to enjoy a mini photographic exhibition in the Princess of Wales Conservatory by Malagasy photographer Tina Waibel. Tina’s images capture the daily lives of the people she meets, and the images which will be on display showcase the beauty of these everyday moments in rural Madagascar.
A field camp in action
In the Arid Zone of the glasshouse, visitors will encounter a replica field camp, demonstrating the tools and techniques which Kew scientists and Malagasy partners use as part of their vital research away from a research centre or laboratory. Particularly focused on the field work which is taking place to document and record the grasses and savannas of Madagascar, this unique display will allow visitors to the Orchid festival a unique opportunity to engage with how research is conducted, and the vital role field work plays in many of RBG Kew’s ongoing global conservation partnerships.
Orchids After Hours return for 2024, offering exclusive access to the Princess of Wales Conservatory after dark. As well as enjoying the opportunity to see the spectacular horticultural installations by night, these special events will feature music from exuberant Malagasy band, the Boriza Brothers, live performances from artist, singer/songwriter and performer Rasoanaivo Hanitrarivo and poet and illustrator Vaonarivo Brown, as well as talks and cooking demonstrations by Lilia’s Kitchen.
Solène Dequiret, Supervisor of the Princess of Wales Conservatory at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew says: “It’s always rewarding for the team to plan, design and install the Orchid festival each year and for 2024 it’s wonderful to be able to draw inspiration from the incredible plant and animal life of Madagascar- an ecosystem like nowhere else on Earth. Telling the story of this incredible island nation through horticultural displays will also allow us to shine a light on the critical efforts of the team based at Kew’s Madagascar Conservation Centre, who work hard every day to conserve and protect the biodiversity of this unique environment.”
Mary-Anne Daly, Chief Executive Officer, Cazenove Capital commented: “We are delighted to support the invaluable work of Kew' Gardens leading scientists through our continued sponsorship of Kew's extraordinary Orchid Festival. Kew is home to one of the largest botanical collections in the world and supporting its research into biodiversity reflects our firm’s commitment to protecting the environment and finding nature-based solutions to climate change. I look forward to seeing what promises to be a unique display in the Princess of Wales Conservatory in early 2024.”
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, is dedicated to harnessing the power of plants and fungi to end the extinction crisis and secure a future for all life on Earth. With Kew’s world-leading research, global partnerships and beloved gardens – home to the world’s most diverse collections of plants and fungi – Kew is using its trusted voice to shape policy and practice worldwide. As a charity Kew relies on the critical support of its visitors, not only to sustain the gardens, but to protect global plant and fungal biodiversity for the benefit of our planet and humanity.
- Entry to Orchids is included when purchasing a ticket to Kew Gardens.
- The best value tickets can be booked in advance via kew.org.
- Visitors must book separate timed entry slots for Orchids 2024.
- Orchids After Hours events take place on 9, 10, 16, 17, 23 and 24 February from 6pm- 10pm (last entry 9pm). Tickets £17 adult/£12.50 members until 21 January 2024.
For more information or images, please contact the Press Office at email@example.com / 0208 332 5607
Notes to Editors
About Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world-famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding collections and scientific expertise in plant and fungal diversity, conservation, and sustainable development in the UK and around the globe. Kew’s scientists and partners lead the way in the fight against biodiversity loss and finding nature-based solutions to the climate crisis, aided by five key scientific priorities outlined in Kew’s Science Strategy 2021-2025. Kew Gardens is also a major international and top London visitor attraction. Kew’s 132 hectares of historic, landscaped gardens, and Wakehurst, Kew’s Wild Botanic Garden and ‘living laboratory’, attract over 2.5 million visits every year. Kew Gardens was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrated its 260th anniversary in 2019. Wakehurst is home to the Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world and a safeguard against the disastrous effects of climate change and biodiversity loss. RBG Kew received approximately one third of its funding from Government through the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and research councils. Further funding needs to support RBG Kew’s vital scientific and educational work comes from donors, memberships and commercial activity including ticket sales. For tickets, please visit www.kew.org/kew-gardens/visit-kew-gardens/tickets. In the first six months since implementing a new accessibility scheme for those in receipt of Universal Credit, Pension Credit and Legacy Benefits, Kew has welcomed over 45,000 visitors with £1 tickets.
About Cazenove Capital
Cazenove Capital is a long-established wealth manager with an absolute focus on preserving and growing our clients’ wealth. Sustainability is central to our core investment approach and we support clients who chose to go further and invest for a better future for people and planet. When we invest in search of long-term, sustainable returns, our processes are built to make sure we capture opportunities and minimise the risks of failing to adapt to our changing world. Everyone who invests with us benefit from this sustainable approach – and our data shows it translates into higher long-term returns. Our experience of navigating complex markets and adapting to change helps us balance risk and reward. The investment expertise we call upon as part of Schroders, a truly global asset manager, combined with our long-standing experience of advising clients, is what sets us apart. For two centuries we have helped clients look forward to a successful future. With each client, we plan for the long term and invest the time to gain a detailed understanding of their unique circumstances, goals and ambitions. The majority of our clients, and many of our own people, work with us for years, decades and even generations.