Jenny Forgie completing the orchid arches for Kew's Orchid Festival 2018. Credit%3A RBG Kew.

The attraction’s first Orchids Festival on the theme of Colombia promises dazzling displays inspired by the country’s wildlife and plants.

Stepping into the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew Gardens, visitors will be transported to an ‘entrancing paradise’ with beautiful orchid displays.

The festival opens on February 9th, 2019 and runs until 10th March, with entry included in a standard ticket to the gardens in Richmond.

Colombia is home to 4,270 species of orchid, more than anywhere else in the world and is famed for its wildlife diversity, also boasting the largest number of bird species of any country in the world. To celebrate this, the central display of the festival will be a ‘carnival of animals’ depicting a toucan in flight, a hanging sloth and swimming turtle, all made of stunning orchids, bromeliads and other tropical plants.

Festival highlights

As well as the central display, Colombia’s famous rainbow river, Caño Cristales, will be represented through a breath-taking cascade of hundreds of colourful hanging Vanda orchids. 

Visitors will also experience an enchanted forest scene complete with life-sized jaguars. Elsewhere a display of hundreds of butterflies will be suspended from the glasshouse ceiling and the legend of El Dorado will be depicted through a golden floating display, complete with bright yellow orchids.

The gardens will also host weekend and evening events during the festival as well as activities featuring Colombian music, dance and cuisine, alongside talks from Kew’s orchid experts.

Capturing Colombian culture

The festival aims to showcase some of the ground-breaking work by the team at Kew in working with those in Colombia to help identify, protect and promote the country’s biodiversity.

Elisa Biondi, supervisor of the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew, said: “Colombia has formed a unique inspiration for the Orchids Festival at Kew.
“The Princess of Wales Conservatory will be transformed by awe-inspiring orchid displays that will showcase Colombia’s biodiversity and Kew’s work in the country to help to protect, conserve and study its plants.”

Group visits

Those of 15 or more can benefit from reduced ticket prices and can also book one of the private guided talking tours on offer.

For more information, email or call 020 8332 5648.

Main image: Jenny Forgie completing the orchid arches for Kew's Orchid Festival 2018. Credit: RBG Kew.