Kew Orchid Festival 2018 Thailand!

Kew Orchid Festival 2018 Thailand!

Olivia Steed-Mundin, a diploma student at Kew, adds the final touches to the floating Palace centrepiece. Pictured inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, during the 2018 Orchid Festival.

From Saturday the 10th February 2018, until Sunday the 11th March 2018, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew are hosting their 23rd Orchid Festival.  If you’re looking for a wonderful day out, you’re sure to find it here, at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew!

This inspiring plant extravaganza has been designed to celebrate Thailand’s vibrant plants and culture.  Visitors will experience an array of inspiration provided by multicoloured displays of flowering orchids, floral centrepieces, and incredible towers of Phalaenopsis orchids, from the moment they enter the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew, during the Thai Orchid Festival.

This golden, floating Palace was inspired by the Thai Palace of Bang Pa-In, it was especially created for the 2018 Orchid Festival. Pictured inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

British Orchid Nurseries

In previous years, most of the orchids that have been used in Kew’s Orchid Festivals have come from Holland.  This year, rather wonderfully, for the first time in many years, all of the Phalaenopsis – the moth orchids that Kew have purchased for this year’s Orchid Festival – were grown at a British Nursery – Double H Nurseries – who are based in New Milton in the South of England.  Visitors to Kew Gardens will be able to admire over 4,000 Phalaenopsis plants that have been grown by Double H Nurseries especially for Kew’s Orchid Festival!

Yasmin Akrofi-Rollock, a Kew apprentice, selects Phalaenopsis orchids grown b y British Double H Nurseries, for the floating Palace centrepiece, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Pictured during the 2018 Orchid Festival at Kew.

Yasmin Akrofi-Rollock, a Kew apprentice, selects Phalaenopsis orchids for the floating Palace centrepiece, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Pictured during the 2018 Orchid Festival at Kew.

The Cymbidium orchids that can be seen inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory are also British grown.  Many of these Cymbidiums are large, specimen plants, some of which are 20 years old.  These Cymbidium orchids were all grown by McBeans Orchids, these special plants were supplied to Kew in 2016 and 2017, and have been on display for visitors to the Princess of Wales Conservatory at each of Kew’s annual Orchid Festivals.

Orchid centrepiece

The centrepiece of Kew’s orchid display is a 5m (16.5ft) tall and 4m (13ft) wide, floating Palace, whose design was inspired by the Bang Pa-In Palace in Thailand.  This spectacular Palace was crafted especially for the Thai Orchid Festival.  Situated in the middle of the central pond, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, this colourful and beautifully crafted exhibit has been adorned with 600 orchids to celebrate the colour, culture, and plants of Thailand.

Olivia Steed-Mundin, a diploma student at Kew, and Yasmin Akrofi-Rollock, a Kew apprentice, place the last of the Phalaenopsis orchids onto the floating Palace display, for the 2018 Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

This golden, floating Palace was inspired by the Thai Palace of Bang Pa-In, it was especially created for the 2018 Orchid Festival. Pictured inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Kew work with carpenters, metal workers, and other craftspeople to construct the features for their glasshouses, displays, and exhibits.  Alex Moore a master blacksmith, from Made by Moore, was commissioned to build the Bang Pa-In Palace for the Orchid Festival.

Nick Johnson, a Horticulturist and the Glasshouses Manager at Kew, let me into a secret, the central spike which runs all the way up from the palace to the top of the roof, is actually a pool cue, which has been painted gold!

The stupa which sits atop the floating Thai Palace. The central spike at the top is actually a pool cue, which has been painted gold! Pictured at the 2018 Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

It took the team at Kew two days to construct the Palace, they then spent a week painting the centrepiece of Kew’s display.  It took a further three days to dress and adorn this stunning centrepiece with orchids in the centre of the pond, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Floral art at Kew

Henck Röling is a Master Florist, who has worked with Kew creating exhibits for their Orchid Festival for a number of years.  Last year, Henck created a beautiful peacock and other floral artworks for Kew’s 22nd Orchid Festival, which was inspired by India.  This year Henck has again worked his magic at Kew, creating all manor of floral and moss creations inspired by Thailand, including a Water Dragon, which took three days to construct!

Glasshouse Manager Nick Johnson and Master Florist Henck Roling put together a Phalaenopsis arrangement for the 2018 Orchid Extravaganza, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Bruno the water buffalo, ridden by ‘Jimmy’ the moss man, stands behind the rice paddy fields, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory. Pictured at the 2018 Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.

A closer look at Bruno the water buffalo, pictured inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, during the 2018 Orchid Festival.

The giant Water Dragon, especially constructed from moss, Zygopetalum orchids, and other plants, for the 2018 Orchid Festival. Pictured inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Rice growing at Kew!

The rice paddy fields constructed for the Kew Orchid Festival 2018, feature real rice plants growing in the water! This is no mean feat in the UK, in winter!

The rice paddy fields constructed for the Kew Orchid Festival 2018, feature real rice plants growing in the water! This is no mean feat in the UK, in winter!

Vanda Tunnel

Colourful orchids, known as Vandas, adorn a tunnel leading out of the temperate orchid zone at the 2018 Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Glasshouse Manager Nick Johnson, talking about the colourful, immersive Vanda tunnel that forms part of the display for the Kew Orchid Festival 2018. Pictured inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.

Royal Thai Embassy in London

Glasshouse Manager Nick Johnson with his excellency Pisanu Suvanajata, the Ambassador from the Thai Royal Embassy, and his wife Thipaya-suda, are pictured in front of the floating Thai Palace, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the 2018 Orchid Festival at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

On the 8th February 2018, his excellency Pisanu Suvanajata, the Ambassador from the Thai Royal Embassy, and his wife Thipaya-suda, visited the 2018 Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.  His excellency congratulated Nick Johnson and his team at Kew who had worked together to create this special Thailand inspired Orchid Festival.

The Royal Thai Embassy in London have very generously lent a number of special Thai parasols to Kew for the Orchid Festival.  Visitors can admire these colourful parasols, which complement the colours of the vibrantly coloured orchids, decorating the Princess of Wales Conservatory, guiding visitors as to which direction to head around the Orchid Festival.

Glasshouse Manager Nick Johnson with his excellency, Pisanu Suvanajata, the Ambassador from the Thai Royal Embassy, pictured in front of the floating Thai Palace, at the 2018 Orchid Festival, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

The Ceremonial Cart, which is kindly on loan from the Royal Thai Embassy in London, for the 2018 Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

A portrait of the King of Thailand, decorated with a frame of Phalaenopsis, atop a display of Dendrobium nobile and Dendrobium Berry Oda orchids, which greets visitors as they arrive at the North end of the Princess of Wales Conservatory. Pictured during the 2018 Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.

A Thai market cart filled with orchids and decorated with Thai parasols stands next to the rice paddy fields created for the 2018 Orchid Festival. Pictured inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.

Kew staff

I am constantly inspired by Kew’s staff and volunteers, who have worked tirelessly to create this show stopping Thai Orchid Festival.  66 Kew staff, including volunteers, have worked together to design, construct, build, craft, and present their 2018 Orchid Festival, which is absolutely fabulous!  Hats off to Glasshouse Manager and Orchid Festival Creator Nick Johnson, Princess of Wales Conservatory Manager and Orchid Festival Creator Elisa Biondi, Botanical Horticulturist and Orchid Expert Bala Kompalli, Horticulturist and Orchid Expert Richard Taylor, Master Florist Henck Röling, Senior Orchid Researcher Mark Chase, and to every one of the staff and volunteers that have worked together on this fantastic spectacle!  Congratulations to each and every one of you!  Thank you for creating another magical event!

Glasshouse Manager Nick Johnson and Botanical Horticulturist and Orchid Expert Bala Kompalli, pictured at the Kew Orchid Festival 2018, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.

Princess of Wales Conservatory Manager, Elisa Biondi makes some final adjustments to an orchid display created for the 2018 Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Pictured inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Botanical Horticulturist and Orchid Expert Bala Kompalli, pictured in the Tropical Orchid Zone, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, during the 2018 Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

Bala Kompalli is in charge of the Orchid Nurseries, behind the scenes at Kew.  Every week, throughout the year, some of the orchids inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory are moved around, to enable regular visitors to see a greater variety of orchids, and to ensure that Kew visitors get to see the orchids which are looking their best at the particular time of their visit.

Bala Kompalli is a fantastically knowledgeable orchid expert and a wonderful person too!  Bala trains up the Kew students, as well as growing the species orchids, in the behind the scenes glasshouses at Kew.

Lindsay Kelly, John Selfe, Michael Deswiet and Sue Porter (left-to-right) – part of the Kew team who helped to build the displays for Orchid Festival 2018.

Richard Taylor is a Horticulturist and Orchid Expert, who works behind the scenes, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Richard Taylor is a Horticulturist and Orchid Expert, he works behind the scenes at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.  Richard was the horticulturist who successfully grew and flowered Kew’s Grammatophyllum speciosum specimen, otherwise known as the Queen of Orchid’s, this orchid is the largest known orchid species in the world.  To read more about the Queen of Orchid’s flowering at Kew, please click here.

Master Florist Henck Röling has worked at Kew for eight years.  You can read more about Henck and his work at Kew, here.

More orchid photos at Kew!

If you would like to see more of the orchids that feature in the 2018 Orchid Festival at Kew, please click here to see more photographs of Kew’s orchids.

Much more to see at Kew

There’s so much to see at Kew!  The Orchid Festival is held in the Princess of Wales Conservatory, but don’t forget to visit the Palm House, the Arboretum, the Treetop Walkway, The Hive, the Marianne North Gallery, the Grass Garden, Holly Walk, the lake, the Mediterranean Garden, the Kitchen Garden, the Queen’s Garden, and the Davies Alpine House, as well as the rest of the gardens!

Rebecca Louise Law: Life in Death at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

A thousand garlands were used to create ‘Life in Death’. The artist Rebecca Louise Law, with her team, took around six months to put her latest creation, ‘Life in Death’, together. Rebecca Louise Law then spent five days hanging her art installation inside the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, at Kew.

Rebecca Louise law: Life in Death is currently installed inside the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.  This art installation is open for visitors until Sunday 11th March 2018.

Visiting Rebecca Louise Law’s latest art installation, ‘Life in Death’ is like walking into a botanical painting – it’s quite pale at the back, which contrasts with the darker colours.
So you experience light and shade, just as if you would in a botanical painting.

If you get the chance to visit Kew Gardens before Sunday 11th March 2018, do make time to visit the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, where you’ll be able to walk through Rebecca Louise Law’s latest art installation ‘Life in Death’.  To find out more about Rebecca Louise Law: Life in Death, please click here.

International Garden Photographer of the Year Exhibition

The Nash Conservatory, which is just inside the Elizabeth Gate at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, is wheelchair accessible. From the 10th February 2018 to Sunday 11th March 2018, the Nash Conservatory is hosting the International Garden Photographer of the Year Exhibition. Visitors can enjoy looking at wonderful photographs of gardens and plants. This prestigious competition showcases photographers who have captured special moments in time, within the botanical arena, all over the world.

From Saturday the 10th February 2018, to Sunday 11th March 2018, The International Garden Photographer of the Year Exhibition (IGPOTY) is open to visitors inside  the Nash Conservatory, which is just inside the Elizabeth Gate, at Kew.  Entry to this exhibition is included in your entrance fee, and of course entry is free for Friends of Kew.  The Nash Conservatory is wheelchair accessible and also offers a seating area, where you can look through books celebrating this year’s and the previous years’ best photographs.

I love to visit Kew, I am sure that you’ll love this wonderful garden too!

The Hive at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew is an immersive experience. This engineering feat is connected to a real life beehive at Kew Gardens. The lights and sounds that visitors to the Hive experience are triggered by the activity of the bees in Kew’s real beehive, so it is a constantly evolving experience, which changes all through the day.

The 2018 Orchid Festival is being held in the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, from Saturday 10th February 2018, to Sunday 11th March 2018.

The Palm House at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, pictured in February 2018.

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew is a wonderful garden to visit at any time of year. A gift of membership to become a friend of kew would make a very special gift. Kew is open to visitors all year round. The gardens are open every day, except for the 24th and 25th December.

Savings on Ticket Prices for Kew’s Orchid Festival

If you book your ticket for Kew online for your visit to Kew, you can make a saving on your entry fee, for all the details, please click here.

Entrance to Kew’s Orchid Festival is free for Friends of Kew.  Friends of Kew enjoy free entry to Kew Gardens, in Surrey, and Wakehurst Place, in West Sussex, during opening times.  To find out how to become a friend of Kew, please click here.

To head over to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew’s website, please click here.

From Saturday the 10th February 2018, until Sunday the 11th March 2018, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew are hosting their 23rd Orchid Festival.

Other links and articles that may interest you………………..

To read about the largest known orchid and its flowering for the first time at Kew Gardens, please click here.

To read about how my Orchidarium was created, please click here.

For details of lovely snowdrop garden openings, snowdrop talks and snowdrop events, please click here.

If you’re interested in orchids and live in the UK, you may wish to join the Orchid Society of Great Britain, here’s a link to the OSGB website.

To read about the 2017 Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens, which had the theme of India, please click here.

To read the first part of my White Orchid Trial, please click here.

To read about the RHS London Orchid Show 2016, please click here.

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One thought on “Kew Orchid Festival 2018 Thailand!

  1. Linda

    February 9, 2018 at 2:39pm

    Beth, what a wonderful write up about the Orchid Festival. I met you and your husband at last year’s festival and am so glad you were able to attend this year as well. I had the privilege as a volunteer at Kew to help with the build this year. The Kew staff are so talented! Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos.

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      February 9, 2018 at 11:55pm

      Dear Linda, it’s so lovely to hear from you! I so enjoyed talking to you last year and I was sorry not to see you at Kew this year, I was looking out for you! If you ever see me at Kew and I don’t spot you, do please come and say hello, I’d love to talk to you! I will be adding more photographs of Kew and the Orchid Festival over the coming days. Thank you for all the brilliant work you do for Kew, it’s the people, as well as the plants that make Kew so very special.

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