Thursday 21st February 2019
Thailand’s vibrant colours, culture, and magnificent plant life will be the centrepiece of Kew Gardens 2018 Orchids Festival in February. Inside the tropical paradise of the Princess of Wales Conservatory, visitors to Kew’s 23rd annual Orchids Festival will get a chance to shake off the winter blues and get creative through a host of exciting new events and activities designed to appeal to all ages.
Colourful floral displays will welcome visitors as they enter the tropical glasshouse and wander through a magnificently colourful Vanda tunnel, with three arches delicately covered with hanging orchids. Beautifully handcrafted floating Thai umbrellas will lead to an exquisite Bang Pa-In-inspired orchid palace. A traditional Thai market boat and rice paddy are central to this year’s water display, representing a typical bucolic scene, complete with a special Thai cart on loan from the Royal Thai Embassy in London.
As well as the stunning visual displays, visitors will be immersed in the sounds of Thailand’s everyday hustle and bustle via four different specially commissioned soundscapes playing inside the glasshouse. From the grinding of ingredients and the sizzling of spices in a pan, to the tranquil sounds of an exotic spa and the regal stirrings of a palace, all aspects of Thailand’s culture are captured throughout the diverse soundtracks.
Thailand is home to 1,100 species of orchid. Botanists have been naming and describing orchids for more than 250 years and Kew is a world leader in this field. Last year alone, 600 new species were discovered worldwide, including three from Thailand. Many orchids have important medicinal properties as well as being revered globally for their delicate beauty.