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!
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 which were grown by Double H Nurseries especially for Kew Gardens’ Orchid Festival!
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 warmth! Lycaste bradeorum blooms produce a fragrance which receives variable responses, 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!
Pleurothallis trunctata is from Ecuador, where this orchid can be found growing in cloud forests. This medium sized orchid is an epiphytic, and occasionally 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, but cheerful pendant earrings, or beaded necklaces from a child’s dressing up box, discarded before bedtime. These interesting flowers develop from the sheath of the plant’s leaf. Pleurothallis trunctata leaves can each produce numerous inflorescences, which resemble beautiful orange pearls, these flowers adorn this orchid’s leaves during winter and spring time.
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, with Thailand being the theme of this year’s Orchid Festival at Kew, visitors were able to get more acquainted with plants from this alluring orchid genus.
Dendrobium Berry ‘Oda’
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 character to its scent.
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 orchid’s container doesn’t actually sit immersed in the water, as if your plant’s pot is in contact with water it will continually take up moisture through the holes in 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. To do this you could cover the saucer with medium sized 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 an even better idea would be to place an upturned saucer, one that’s smaller in diameter to the size of the saucer that’s holding the water, and place this smaller, upturned saucer into the saucer of 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. You could of course position your plants near an aquarium or an indoor water garden, if you have one of course!
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, indirect 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 really well. But do ensure that your Dendrobium is never exposed to temperatures below 10C (50F) during its cool winter period; temperatures can get cooler at nighttime than we perceive, whilst we’re all warm, snuggly and tucked up in bed!
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 in leaf litter on the ground, or occasionally as lithophyte – 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 harsh bright light or cold draughts, in a temperature that ranges from a minimum of 10C (50F), to a high of 30C (85F).
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 base 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 ‘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 is another fragrant orchid, this orchid species releases its perfume in the early evening and through the night.
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.
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 creators’ 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.
The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew have a great collection of Cymbidium orchids. These are just a few of the Cymbidium plants that I enjoyed seeing at this year’s Orchid Festival.
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!
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
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.