Kew Gardens’ Orchid festival returns for 2023 (4 February – 5 March 2023)

Kew Gardens’ much-loved Orchid festival returns to the Princess of Wales Conservatory from Saturday 4 February to Sunday 5 March 2023. This year it takes inspiration from the beauty and biodiversity of Cameroon. 

Orchids 2023 is a vibrant celebration of colour to brighten up the winter months. And we all need it. It is the first time Kew’s Orchid festival will celebrate an African nation. Encompassing a series of stunning horticultural displays and living sculptures, the festival takes places across the ten different climatic zones which make up Kew’s state-of-the-art Princess of Wales Conservatory, replicating a series of fascinating global ecosystems under one roof.

Monica Costa at kew gardens orchid festival 2023 collage 

Despite not being bigger and better than in previous years, the Victorian glasshouses dressed with the Orchid theme are charming and pretty. Kew Gardens is a magical place in London, where I like to go when I need to escape the noise and buzz of the Capital. 

 

The displays

Orchids 2023 will highlight the varied landscapes and native wildlife of Cameroon, with larger-than-life sculptures hand-crafted by a team of expert horticulturists from real plants and an amazing array of colourful orchids. Visitors can encounter towering giraffe sculptures and a troop of gorillas, alongside magnificent roaring lions and wallowing hippo arrangements, highlighting the incredible biodiversity and awe-inspiring wildlife of this West African nation. 

The Orchid festival is an antidote to the cold days of winter and provides us with the opportunity to learn about these stunning flowers to create visual art.

Since 2004, scientists at Kew have been working to document the biodiversity of Cameroon’s Ebo Forest with a view to designating the area as Important Plant Areas. The Ebo Forest, one of the largest intact rainforests in Cameroon, is home to a vast array of wildlife, including the only population of chimpanzee species that use twigs to fish out termites, and stones to crack open nuts. Researchers have also uncovered an incredible diversity of plant life in Ebo forest. By 2020, 14 plant species new-to-science have been discovered in Ebo (with more yet to be named) and over 75 threatened species of plants have been recorded there. Threatened species from this area include several plants known only from Ebo forest, such as Inversodicraea ebo, found on rocks within river rapids, and Kupeantha ebo, a small tree related to coffee. 

I had the pleasure of chatting to the botanical and horticultural teams at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, who are all passionate about harnessing the power of plants and fungi to end the extinction crisis and secure a future for all life on Earth. 

They have told me how Kew Gardens invest in training their staff and source them from all over the world provided they love plants and flowers. 

 

Tickets

Orchids admission:     

·       Entry to Orchids is included when purchasing a ticket to Kew Gardens. 

·       The best value tickets can be booked in advance via kew.org

·       Visitors must book separate timed entry slots for Orchids 2023.

·       Tickets for Orchids After Hours must be booked in advance.

 

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