13 September 2019

11 Glow Wild secrets

Delve behind the scenes of Wakehurst’s enchanting winter lantern trail.

By Katie Avis-Riordan

Moon and star lanterns at Glow Wild, Wakehurst

1. There are more than 10 artists creating the installations for this year’s Glow Wild, including three who are brand new for this year.

2. For the first time, the trail will have a unique soundscape, produced from recordings of Wakehurst’s nocturnal world. Ithica Studio is behind the evocative piece, capturing our whispering trees and stirring night-time wildlife.

Wakehurst Mansion illuminated during Glow Wild at night
Wakehurst Mansion illuminated during Glow Wild, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

3. Along the route you’ll see more than 800 glowing lanterns of different shapes and sizes. But we also have around 400 spares ready just in case.

4. The biggest lantern is the moon, reaching a whopping 8ft in height. This showstopper is hard to miss, hanging over Black Pond.

Moon lantern hanging over the Black Pond at Wakehurst during the Glow Wild festival
Moon lantern hanging over the Black Pond, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

5. It’s a mammoth task to hang all the lanterns, taking around four weeks to complete.

6. And making them is no small effort – it takes more than 600 hours for the volunteers to construct all of the lanterns.

7. How long each one takes to make depends on the complexity of the design. In a previous year's Glow Wild, the volunteers made 60 Mansion lawn spirals within two weeks.

Children picking up Glow Wild hand-held lanterns
Glow Wild hand-held lanterns, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

8. The luminous installations are all inspired by Wakehurst's 500 acres of wild and wonderful woodland, plants and wildlife. The central theme is the resilience of trees, of which we have more than 50,000 here.

9. School children are part of the team. Every year, six local schools offer their time and skills, with as many year groups getting involved as possible.

Circles of fire torches around trees at Wakehurst during Glow WIld
Glow Wild fire circles, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

10. Lighting up the landscape are also 500 fire torches. Igniting them has to be left as late as possible each night so the torches don’t run out of fuel before the end of the evening. The cans are then re-filled during the week before the next Thursday night.

11. Glow Wild is home to the tallest living Christmas tree in the UK which sparkles with 1,800 lights.

Explore the magic...

Glow Wild at Wakehurst

Glow Wild 2019

Join us at Wakehurst for a spellbinding winter lantern trail for all ages.

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