A wonderful way to spend a sunday afternoon.
It is a rarity that we see the sunshine at the moment, so this weekend I made the most of the sunshine and visited Kew Gardens for the first time.
My visit coincided with the Orchid Festival, a perfect way to escape the cold and immerse yourself in the beautiful orchids and stunning arrangements in the Prince of Wales Conservatory. The impressive display includes thousands of orchids and tropical flowers such as bromeliads and anthuriums. A rainbow of orchids cascade over walls, build bridges, and twist together in spectacular areal displays.
The theme this year is orchid-hunters past and present. This tribute to the Victorian botanists tells the story of wealthy collectors who went to great lengths for their treasure, sponsoring dangerous expeditions to unknown lands. The centrepiece of this tropical extravaganza is the colonial collectors’ camp along with floating canoes bursting with plants.
We took a look inside the iconic Palm House, home to a variety of tropical palms. The South Wing contains plants from Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands, include the African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) the most important oil-producing plantation palm in the Tropics. The main central section houses plants from the Americas, including cocoa, rubber, banana and papaya plants. The North Wing hosts plants from Asia, Australasia and the Pacific, the region that contains the world’s greatest diversity of palms.
Not only is the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew a World Heritage Site with 250 years of history, it is a world leading plant science and conservation organisation. Kew’s scientific resources and expertise are focused on finding plant-based solutions to global challenges such as biodiversity loss, food and water security, poverty, disease and changing climate. Kew aims to promote the sustainable use of plants and inspire an appreciation of plants and the environment. Throughout its history Kew has made important contributions to increasing the understanding of the plant kingdom with many benefits for mankind.
Orchid Festival is running until 9th March.