25 March 2020

In Pictures: Rainbow of flowers

From radiant red to vivid violet, this beautiful spectrum of spring blooms will help brighten your day.

By Katie Avis-Riordan

Spring flowers in bloom at Kew

Many of us now find ourselves stuck indoors, unable to access nature as often as we may like.

So why not bring the rainbow of spring blooms from our gardens at Kew and Wakehurst into your home while you're social distancing, from red rhododendrons to violet wisteria...


Throughout spring, tulips and rhododendrons are bursting with crimson colour in our gardens at Kew and Wakehurst. 

Adding a striking pop of red to the landscape, these bright flowers show off their springtime display in Rhododendron Dell at Kew and our wild Sussex garden's Westwood Valley and Himalayan Glade.

Tulips outside Temperate House in spring
Tulips outside Temperate House in spring © RBG Kew
Rhododendrons in Westwood valley
Rhododendrons in Westwood Valley, Ellen McHale/RBG Kew
Rhododendron barbatum x arboreum
Rhododendron barbatum x arboreum


The bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) growing in our Temperate House is aflame with a fiery orange hue.

Its colourful inflorescence (flowering head), as its common name suggests, resembles the crest on an exotic bird's head.

Lovers of orange blooms will also appreciate the warm vibrancy of our Natal lily (Clivia miniata) growing at Kew. 

Close up of colourful bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) flower
Bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae), Andrew McRobb © RBG Kew
Orange flowers of Clivia miniata
Natal lily (Clivia miniata), Zoe Stewart © RBG Kew


Was there ever a better colour of flower for brightening your day?

Shades of yellow are in abundance during spring, with pretty primroses and pansies, zesty daffodils and cascading laburnum blooming across our gardens.

Associated with sunshine and happiness, these yellow blossoms really make the landscape come alive.

Two yellow daffodils growing in a green field
Daffodils, Zoe Stewart © RBG Kew
Cluster of yellow daffodils
Daffodils, Zoe Stewart © RBG Kew
Daffodils in spring at Kew
Daffodils (Narcissus) in spring at Kew © RBG Kew
Golden yellow petals of the laburnum pergola


The fourth colour of the rainbow is everywhere in nature, from sweeping meadows of luscious green grass to dense foliage in a forest of trees. 

Green spaces can help soothe us, improve our mood and boost our sense of wellbeing. 

Did you know? The human eye supposedly sees more shades of green than any other colour.

Here are some of the beautiful green hues from our gardens, including smooth succulents in our Davies Alpine HouseCoronation Meadow and a monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana) at Wakehurst.

Succulents in Davies Alpine House, Kew
Ellen McHale RBG Kew
Succulents in the Davies Alpine House
Succulents in the Davies Alpine House
Close-up of monkey puzzle tree's spiralled leaves
Monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana) leaves © RBG Kew
Coronation meadow
Coronation Meadow, Jim Holden


Take a look at blue crocus (Tecophilaea cyanocrocus) and spring starflower (Ipheion uniflorum) with their delicate flowers in beautiful tones of blue

One of the most classic examples of a blue springtime flower is revealed by its name...

Stunning carpets of bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) cover our woodland floors in late spring.

Despite the label, these UK native wildflowers with bell-shaped flowers also come in shades of purple, which leads us on to our next colour of the rainbow...

Blue crocus, (Tecophilaea cyanocrocus)
Blue crocus, (Tecophilaea cyanocrocus)
Spring starflower, Ipheion uniflorum, in the Davies Alpine House at Kew
Spring starflower (Ipheion uniflorum) in the Davies Alpine House at Kew © RBG Kew
Bluebells blooming in front of Queen Charlotte's Cottage
Bluebells surrounding Queen Charlotte's Cottage © RBG Kew


The flowers of these ornamental alliums are a lovely deep, rich indigo.

Growing in our Great Broad Walk Borders, these decorative blooms are garden showstoppers with their large round heads and eye-catching colour.

Our herbaceous borders stretch out for more than 320 metres and are a dazzling rainbow of colour in themselves, especially during the spring and summer months.

Alliums in Spring
Alliums in Spring


Mirrored in its name, the native sweet violet (Viola odorata), that grows on the edges of woodland, has violet flowers.

Other purple plant heroes include dainty fairy primula (Primula malacoides) and stunning Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis).

This vigorous violet climber is a delight for the senses in spring.

Purple flowers of Primula malacoides at Kew
Primula malacoides at Kew, Zoe Stewart © RBG Kew
Wisteria at Kew
Wisteria at Kew © RBG Kew
Wisteria at Kew
Wisteria at Kew © RBG Kew
Sweet violet (Viola odorata)
Sweet violet (Viola odorata), William Milliken © RBG Kew

Even though you may be behind closed doors at the moment, Kew and Wakehurst are still growing and bursting with life and colour.

To get your daily nature fix while you're social distancing or self-isolating, you're welcome to join our social community. 

We are passionate about plants and fungi, and will be sharing pictures, stories and films with you on Kew Gardens' Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and Wakehurst's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Grevillea ‘Coastal Sunset’

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