Orchids at Kew Gardens’ Orchid Festival 2018

Kew Orchid Festival

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew are currently hosting their 23rd annual Orchid Festival.  You’ll find an array of colourful orchids, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew, until Sunday 11th March 2018, when the Orchid Festival closes for another year.  I hope that you can make it to Kew to see this impressive orchid spectacle during the next couple of weeks!  This year’s Orchid Festival has the theme of Thailand!

The floating centrepiece, a Thai Palace, pictured inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the 2018 Orchid Festival at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
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.
Olivia Steed-Mundin, a diploma student at Kew, and Yasmin Akrofi-Rollock, a Kew apprentice, arrange the last of the orchids on the floating Palace display. Pictured inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, during the 2018 Orchid Festival.
A closer look at the cheerfully coloured Phalaenopsis, Ascocentrums, and Oncidiums that decorate the roof of the Thai Palace, the centrepiece of the Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.
A closer look at the planting around the Thai Palace, the centrepiece of the Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.
A closer look at the cheerfully coloured Phalaenopsis, Ascocentrums, and Oncidiums that decorate the roof of the Thai Palace, the centrepiece of the Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.
A closer look at the cheerfully coloured Phalaenopsis, Ascocentrums, and Oncidiums that decorate the roof of the Thai Palace, the centrepiece of the Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.
A closer look at the planting around the centre of the Thai Palace, the centrepiece of the Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.

British Orchid Nurseries

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.  Double H Nurseries 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 were grown by Double H Nurseries especially for Kew Gardens’ Orchid Festival!

All of the Phalaenopsis plants that were used to create Kew’s 2018 Orchid Festival were grown by Double H Nurseries. Double H Nurseries are a British Nursery, who are based in the South of England.

Phalaenopsis

A rather glamorous green flowered Phalaenopsis, pictured at the Orchid Festival, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. All of the Phalaenopsis plants that were used to create Kew’s 2018 Orchid Festival were grown by Double H Nurseries. Double H Nurseries are a British Nursery, who are based in the South of England.
These large Phalaenopsis flowers are very glamorous! All of the Phalaenopsis plants that were used to create Kew’s 2018 Orchid Festival were grown by Double H Nurseries. Double H Nurseries are a British Nursery, who are based in the South of England.
All of the Phalaenopsis plants that were used to create Kew’s 2018 Orchid Festival were grown by Double H Nurseries. Double H Nurseries are a British Nursery, who are based in the South of England.

Lycaste bradeorum

Lycaste bradeorum pictured at the Orchid Festival, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.

Lycaste bradeorum is a medium sized orchid that produces fragrant flowers in a very sunny, daffodil, yellow-almost-orange colour.  These cheerful blooms are produced just as winter ends and spring begins.  Lycaste bradeorum flowers are produced in such a happy, full of the joy of spring yellow, the colour itself is full of joy!  Lycaste bradeorum produces blooms which have a variable fragrance; I have heard this orchid’s scent described as very pleasing by some, and very unpleasant by others!

Lycaste bradeorum favours warm growing conditions, this orchid species thrives when grown under filtered, diffused light.  To grow this plant well, you need to provide this orchid species with a drier dormant period, to mirror the conditions that this orchid species naturally grows in.  This epiphytic orchid is native to the Honduras, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.

Watch out for this orchid’s spines, which form on its pseudobulbs after the leaves have fallen!

Lycaste bradeorum pictured at the Orchid Festival, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.

Pleurothallis truncata 

Pleurothallis truncata pictured at the Orchid Festival, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.

Pleurothallis trunctata is from Ecuador, where it can be found growing in cloud forests.  This medium sized orchid is an epiphytic, and occasionally a lithophytic, orchid species, which develops into a tufted, clump like formation as the plant grows and matures.

This orchid’s flowers are just so interesting!  Pleurothallis trunctata produces very exciting looking flowers, which are a vibrant orange colour, the inflorescences cascade over the plant’s leaves very decoratively, like decadent strings of pearls.  The flowers develop from the sheath of the plant’s leaf.  Pleurothallis trunctata leaves can each produce numerous inflorescences, which resemble beautiful orange beads, these flowers adorn this orchid’s leaves during winter and spring time.

Pleurothallis truncata pictured at the Orchid Festival at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.

Vanda Tunnel

Colourful orchids known as Vandas adorn an immersive tunnel leading out of the temperate orchid zone at the 2018 Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
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.
This is the view inside the Vanda Tunnel, at the 2018 Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew!
This is the view inside the Vanda Tunnel, at the 2018 Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew!
However short or tall you are there’s an orchid at your level inside Kew Gardens’ Vanda Tunnel! Visitors can see these large flowered orchids, known as Vandas and their long roots at close range.

Dendrobiums

Dendrobiums are a large genus of orchids, there are over one thousand, one hundred different Dendrobium species!  As well as the species, there many Dendrobium hybrids too!  Around twenty five Dendrobium species are native to Thailand.

A very attractive dark flowered Dendrobium, pictured inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, during the Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.
A white Dendrobium, pictured at Kew Gardens’ Orchid Festival, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.
A pretty white and pink Dendrobium orchid, pictured at the Orchid Festival, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Dendrobium nobile, pictured at Kew Gardens’ Thailand themed Orchid Festival, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Dendrobium ‘Berry Oda’

Dendrobium Berry Oda, pictured during the Orchid Festival, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, at Kew.

Dendrobium ‘Berry Oda’ is pictured above, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, during the 2018 Orchid Festival.  This is a new hybrid Dendrobium, which was bred from two Dendrobium species – Dendrobium kingianum and Dendrobium bigibbum (bigibbum?  Yes – that’s its real name!).  Dendrobium ‘Berry Oda’ is so named as it produces a light fragrance, which has a berry like scent character.

Dendrobium ‘Berry Oda’ makes a lovely houseplant!  If you’d like to grow Dendrobium ‘Berry Oda’ yourself, you’ll find these orchids are easy to grow.  Dendrobium ‘Berry Oda’ thrives in a humid environment.  If your home is not very humid, you can mist your plant regularly to increase the humidity level around your plant.  You could also place your plant’s pot above a saucer filled with water.  It’s important to ensure that your plant doesn’t sit in the water, as your orchid will take up the water through the bottom of its container, and the plant and its roots will very quickly become too wet.  So always make sure that your plant is placed above the water.  You could cover the saucer with pebbles and place your pot on top of the pebbles, ensuring that your plant’s pot doesn’t come into contact with the water, and stays above the water.  Or you could place an upturned saucer, that’s smaller in size than the saucer that’s holding the water, and place this smaller, upturned saucer over the water,  Make sure that the water level is below the top of this saucer, so you can successfully keep your plant’s pot above the water.  As well as ensuring you have adequate humidity levels, ensure that you also have good air circulation around your plants.

If you’re wondering what location would suit your Dendrobium ‘Berry Oda’, look for a bright location, where the plant will receive bright, but filtered, diffused light.  Provide Dendrobium ‘Berry Oda’ with a minimum temperature at night of 10C (50F).  Ideally this Dendrobium won’t be exposed to any higher than a maximum temperature of 30C (85F) during the hottest days of summer.  This orchid will need to experience a drop in temperature to induce the plant to flower again, so you will need to provide a cooler winter period in order to grow this plant well.  Ensure that this Dendrobium is never exposed to temperatures below 10C (50F) during its cool winter period.

A crown made up of Dendrobium ‘Berry Oda’ orchids. Pictured inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, during the Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Ludisia discolor

The white flowered orchid in this photograph is called Ludisia discolor. This is an orchid that is native to Thailand. The other orchid in this photograph is a cheerful pink Dendrobium. Pictured at the Orchid Festival, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.

Ludisia discolor is an orchid species that’s native to Thailand, where it can be found growing in shaded locations, as a terrestrial orchid – growing on the ground, or occasionally on rocks, under the branches of trees in woodland and forests.  Ludisia discolor is an easy to grow orchid, it favours growing in a shaded location, in a humid environment, away from bright light or cold draughts, in a temperature that ranges from a minimum of 10C (50F), to a high of 30C (85F).

Paphiopedilum

Paphiopedilum hybrids, pictured at the 2018 Orchid Festival, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

I love Paphiopedilums!  Paphiopedilums are such fascinating orchids, they are often known as slipper orchids, due to their unusual pouch shaped flower, which is  quite slipper like in its appearance.

Paphiopedilums are super orchids to grow inside your home!  Choose a location where your plant will receive filtered, diffused, soft light, in a spot that is well away from bright lights and cold draughts.  I have found that generally speaking I have grown Paphiopedilums best inside my home on a shaded, East facing windowsill (without an operating radiator below) in a temperature range from 10C (50F) as an absolute minimum, to a high of about 27C (80F).  I have also grown Paphiopedilums happily on a table, which is set back from the windowsil.

I find these orchids thrive when they are watered with rainwater and fed with my usual orchid feed.  When you’re watering your Paphiopedilum plants, take care to avoid running water into the crown and centre of your orchid’s leaves.  The best way to water, is to pop your plant in the sink, then run collected, strained rainwater, that was collected the previous day, or longer ago, (so the water will have reached room temperature, and will not shock your plant) through the pot, until water runs freely through the bottom of your orchid’s pot.  As you’re watering your orchid, take care to avoid running water through the central crown of the plant.  If you do accidentally run water into your orchid’s leaves, take a piece of kitchen paper, and gently dry the leaves, taking extra care to remove any water from the centre of the plant.

Here are some of the beautiful Paphiopedilums I saw at Kew!

Paphiopedilum hybrids, pictured at the 2018 Orchid Festival, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Paphiopedilum hybrids, pictured at the 2018 Orchid Festival, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Paphiopedilum hybrids, pictured at the 2018 Orchid Festival, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
A Paphiopedilum hybrid, pictured at the 2018 Orchid Festival, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Paphiopedilum ‘Pinocchio’ pictured at the Orchid Festival, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.

Paphiopedilum ‘Pinocchio’ is an amazing Paphiopedilum!  It’s so floriferous!  I have grown plants of this sequential blooming Paph, that rewarded me by flowering continually, every single day for four years!  Over the four years my plant’s flowering stem grew longer and longer, it extended by just a tiny fraction each time every couple of new flowers were produced!  This is such a great orchid!

Epidendrum nocturnum

Epidendrum nocturnum, pictured during the Orchid Festival, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Epidendrum nocturnum is another fragrant orchid, this orchid species releases its perfume in the early evening and through the night.

Epidendrum nocturnum, pictured during the Orchid Festival, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Zygopetalum

Master Florist Henck Röling puts the finishing touches to Lorenzo the Water Dragon. Lorenzo was crafted from moss, wire, and Zygopetalum orchids, for the Thailand themed Orchid Festival at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Zygopetalum orchids are fragrant orchids, they grow well in intermediate temperatures and make good houseplants.

Zygopetalum orchids have a heady fragrance, which is really rather pleasing!  At Kew, Master Florist Henck Röling has used Zygopetalum orchids to form the spine of the Water Dragon he created for Kew’s 2018 Orchid Festival.

This Zygopetalum orchid is pictured at Kew Gardens’ Thailand themed Orchid Festival. If you’d like to grow your own Zygopetalum orchid, choose a location inside your home where your plant will receive filtered, diffused sunlight, away from bright light, cold draughts and the heat of the summer sun.
Master Florist Henck Röling and Kew Volunteer Alison Rickard putting the finishing touches to Lorenzo the Water Dragon, made for Kew Garden’s 2018 Orchid Festival.

Master Florist, Henck Röling, has worked with the staff at Kew over the past eight years, to bring the ideas of Kew’s Orchid Festival’s creator’s Nick Johnson and Elisa Biondi to life.  This year, Henck has created the giant Water Dragon you see pictured above, as well as an elephant, a water buffalo, and moss men, Henck has also planted up a great many features and displays.  You can find out more about Henck and his work here.

Cymbidium orchids

A pretty Cymbidium orchid, pictured during the Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.

The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew have a great collection of Cymbidium orchids.  These are just a few of the Cymbidium plants that I saw at this year’s Orchid Festival.

Bala Kompalli, a wonderful horticulturist from the Orchid Unit at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, is pictured here with Cymbidium ‘Loch Maree’ “Jim”, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew.
A beautiful Cymbidium orchid pictured at the Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.
A beautiful Cymbidium orchid, Cymbidium Ray Bilton ‘Cooksbridge Satin’, pictured during the Orchid Festival, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.
A beautiful Cymbidium orchid, pictured during the Orchid Festival, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.

More orchids!

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew have one of the largest and oldest orchid collections.  Kew started their orchid collection back in the 1770s!  Throughout the year, the Botanical Horticulturists in the behind the scenes orchid nurseries, led by Orchid Expert Bala Kompalli, move the orchids at Kew around, to ensure that visitors can see the best selection of plants that are in bloom during that particular week.  So if you’re a friend of Kew and you visit every week, you’ll be able to see a wide variety of orchid species and hybrids!  How exciting!

Red Miltoniopsis orchids, pictured at Kew Gardens’ Orchid Festival, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
A closer look at a red Miltoniopsis orchid, pictured at Kew Gardens’ Orchid Festival, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
The Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens is open until Sunday 11th March 2018.
At Kew’s Orchid Festival you can see large groups of orchids in flower. Kew’s 2018 Orchid Festival is open daily until Sunday 11th March 2018.

More to see at Kew

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

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!

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.

Rebecca Louise Law: Life in Death at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery at the Royal Botanic Gardens, 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.
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 used over three hundred and seventy-five thousand individual flowers in her latest installation ‘Life in Death’, which is currently on view at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London, England.

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.

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.

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.

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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