I’ve admired the work of Master Florist Henck Röling for a number of years now. Henck Röling is a Master Florist and Artist, he works for some of London’s top florists; Henck creates weekly flower arrangements for the Ritz, Southerby’s, and Fortnum and Mason, to name but a few. As well as at top London hotels and restaurants, you may have seen some of Henck’s work at Kew Gardens’ Orchid Festivals, where Henck has created an absolutely fabulous series of floral installations over the past eight years.
Henck has been a fantastic contributor to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, where he has worked to realise the designs and ideas formulated by Kew’s Glasshouses Manager, Nick Johnson, and the Manager of the Princess of Wales Conservatory, Elisa Biondi – the creators of Kew’s yearly Orchid Festival. Each year Henck works to bring Nick and Elisa’s ideas to life.
This year, for the 2018 Orchid Festival at Kew, Henck has again worked his magic, creating a number of Thailand themed exhibits. Let me first introduce you to Bruno the Water Buffalo, who you can see in the photograph below; Bruno is being expertly ridden by Jimmy the moss man!
Bruno is standing above Kew’s own paddy fields, which feature real rice plants that the horticulturists at Kew have been growing over winter especially for the Kew Orchid Festival: not an easy task in the UK!
The Horticultural Scientists at Kew have been studying rice, uncovering details about the wild relatives of the rice plants that are grown commercially today. With climate change being a real concern for the future, Kew’s Horticultural Scientists have been looking to identify whether any particular rice species, or rice varieties that might have a greater in-built ability to endure warmer temperatures or offer a wider climatic resilience, and so consequently maybe more genetically equipped to produce a successful and productive rice harvest during warmer weather, or any future climate changes that occur. Kew’s Horticultural Scientists are looking for the varying traits and characteristics that wild rice are naturally equipped with, to see if they can pinpoint the particular rice strains that are most likely to offer a greater resistance to warmer temperatures, and a better ability to cope with and adapt to any changes in weather. The Scientists at Kew can help to select the rice varieties that other Horticultural Scientists might need to use, to breed new rice hybrids from, which will hopefully ensure a sustainable rice harvest can be grown in the future, whatever climate change brings.
It’s important for Kew to inform their visitors and to make passers-by aware of the vital work that Kew are carrying out with regard to rice breeding, so it’s wonderful to have such an endearing creation such as Bruno the Water Buffalo, to create a moment for visitors to pause and reflect on the Thailand themed spectacle before them.
Henck took the left over hessian sacking, which had previously been used to protect some of the orchids that were delivered to Kew for the Orchid Festival, and turned this discarded sacking into Bruno the Water Buffalo! Bruno is pictured with another of Henck’s creations, ‘Jimmy’ the moss man!
Although Henck has certainly created a great many elegant, stylish, and rather sumptuous floral displays, I find it wonderfully inspiring to discover what Henck has created using his talent and resourcefulness alone. One of Henck Röling’s favourite creations for the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew’s 2018 Thailand themed Orchid Festival is a beautifully crafted, woven elephant. Henck named this elephant ‘Skippy’, after the skip at Kew, where Henck found the old prunings he collected and then used to construct the elephant!
Henck spent two days constructing ‘Skippy’. He used some Phalaenopsis and Oncidium orchids to enhance Skippy, taking care to follow the main lines of the elephant’s body as he wove the plants in. As always, plants are amazing: as these intertwined prunings were positioned in place in the pond, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew, with access to water and light, in a warm environment, the buds on these entwined prunings have now opened!
If you’re visiting the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, don’t forget to look out for the resident Water Dragons! There are five Water Dragons that reside inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew, these Water Dragons are territorial, so they occupy different areas of the glasshouse. Inspired by these Water Dragons, Henck has created ‘Lorenzo’, a six meter long, moss covered Water Dragon, with a spine crafted from fragrant Zygopetalum orchids!
Henck designed the planting for Kew’s floating Bang Pa-In inspired Palace, using an array of multi coloured orchids to create two different themes. A more garden like feel has been created around the small island that surrounds this amazing Palace. While a colourful, yet more celebratory, decedent feeling can be seen in the planting of the orchids that are used on the Palace’s roof and inside the Palace itself.
Visitors to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew can enjoy seeing ‘Skippy’ the elephant, Bruno the Water Buffalo, Lorenzo the Water Dragon, the Thai Palace, and the rest of Kew’s Thailand themed Orchid Festival, which will be on display inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory until Sunday 11th March 2018. If you get the opportunity to visit, I wish you a super day out! You can learn more about Kew’s 2018 Thailand themed Orchid Festival here.
Kew staff and volunteers
Henck is one of a number of talented people, who work as part of a great team at Kew, expertly led by Glasshouse Manager Nick Johnson, and the Manager of the Princess of Wales Conservatory, Elisa Biondi. A fantastic group of staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly to create the 2018 Thailand themed Orchid Festival.
Many talented, hardworking volunteers have worked with Henck over the past eight years, including John Selfe, Alison Rickard, Sue Porter, Lindsay Kelly, and Michael Deswiet, to name just a few.
Henck Röling’s website
Henck Röling is a freelance Master Florist and Artist. As well as creating floral works of art, Henck also draws, paints, and takes photographs. For the past two years, Henck has taken part in the Twickenham and Richmond Art House Open Studios Festival, where visitors can view the paintings, sculpture, jewellery, ceramics, prints, textiles, and photography created by the residents who live in this London Borough. You can view some of Henck’s artwork on his website here.
Savings on Ticket Prices to visit the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew:
If you book your ticket for your visit to Kew online, you can make a saving on your entry fee, for all the details, please click here.
Friends of Kew
The entrance fee to Kew Gardens, which includes entry to the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, entry to the Marianne North Gallery, entry to Kew’s Orchid Festival in the Princess of Wales Conservatory, the Palm House, and the 300 acres of gardens and arboretum, is free for Friends of Kew.
Friends of Kew also enjoy free entry to Kew Gardens, in Surrey, as well as free entry to Wakehurst Place, in West Sussex, during opening times. To find out how to become a friend of Kew, please click here.
Other articles that may interest you…………….
To see more photographs of the 2018 Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which is open inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, until Sunday 11th March 2018, please click here.
To see more photographs of the orchids on display at the 2018 Orchid Festival at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, please click here.
To see photographs of Rebecca Louise Law’s art installation, ‘Life in Death’ which is on view at Kew Gardens until Sunday 11th March 2018, please click here.
To see photographs of the 2017 Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, please click here.
To see photographs of Chelsea in Bloom 2016 and see the floral art created to decorate the Chelsea Shop fronts to celebrate the week of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, please click here.