Orchids Festival 2017 – India’s Vibrant and Colourful Culture Celebrated

Be transported with a specially commissioned Indian street soundscape

· Experience the visual feast of a vibrant floral extravaganza inspired by an Indian market

· The Lates explore traditional cuisine and electrifying violin sounds by Jyotsna Srikanth

This February, chase away the winter blues and become immersed in an Indian celebration of vibrant colours, culture and magnificent plant life inside the tropical paradise of Kew Gardens’ Princess of Wales Conservatory.

As well as the usual visual displays, sounds of India will surround the senses as visitors enter the steamy glasshouse. From the tones of milkmen’s bicycle bells and newspaper boys, to the playful voices of school children, temple bells, and muezzin calls, the Indian street is bought to life. This visual feast of colour will also feature elaborate floral displays inspired by a typical Indian market, including Kew’s own decorative rickshaws.

A giant Indian flag created from Vanda, Dendrobium, Cymbidium and Paphiopedilum orchids will set the backdrop as visitors admire giant animal figures including an elephant, peacock and tiger. Phalaenopsis drops will hang delicately from the ceiling, while a beautifully embellished traditional Indian marriage swing sways amongst the Vandas, with sari material adding an extra splash of colour. A pond display explodes with intense hues in a larger than life floral arrangement marrying together tradition and modern culture.

Elisa Biondi, Princess of Wales Conservatory Supervisor, RBG Kew says, “This year’s Orchids festival is going to be something really special and different. It will immerse visitors in the sights, senses and sounds of India’s exotic and vibrant culture creating an explosion of unique and colourful beauty. We hope this journey will highlight the significance of plants in all walks of life, from the spiritual and medicinal to the textiles and cuisine, all the while showing the importance of plant diversity and Kew’s work to protect, conserve and study plants.”

This will be Kew’s 22nd annual Orchids festival and the first themed around India. Entrance to the Festival will be free and included in the daily entrance ticket.

Festival Talks…
Join Kew horticulturists and scientists for a series of scintillating talks exploring some fascinating Kew Science field trips to India, how the horticulture team built the magnificent displays, the diversity of the Indian Orchid and what plants are used in traditional Indian cuisine, as well Kew’s important conservation work around the world.

Festival Tours and Hands on Sessions…
Behind the scenes tours of the Orchid Nursery will highlight Kew’s vast collection and showcase how rarer orchids are nurtured and cared for. Tours take place at 1.30pm and 2.15pm on the 9, 16, and 23 February and 2 March. Tours are £10 per person and booking is recommended.

Behind the scenes tours of Kew’s Tropical Nursery will open up the array of beautiful and fascinating carnivorous plants, bromeliads and cacti, as well as showcasing Kew’s conservation work. Tours take place at 1.30pm and 2.15pm on the 11, 18, and 25 February and 4 March. Tours are £10 per person and booking is recommended.

Hands on sessions will delight and educate young and old on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the festival from 11am – 1pm in the Princess of Wales Conservatory.

February Half Term Festival Activities…
Bring the kids along for a colourful cultural feast during half-term with Indian block painting, Bodhi leaf colouring and Mandala design colouring, with designs inspired by Kew’s own Princess of Wales Conservatory, taking place between 11am – 3.30pm in the Princess of Wales Conservatory.

‘Orchids Lates’ at Kew Gardens
Thursday 9 / 16 / 23 February and 2 March
Tuesday 14 / 21 and 28 February
6.00pm – 9.30pm

After the success of the 2016 Kew Lates evenings, the Princess of Wales Conservatory will once again throw open its doors after dark for a series of intimate evenings amongst the hundreds and thousands of orchids and tropical flowers on display.

Experience an evening like no other in London with immersive sounds from electric violinist Jyotsna Srikanth, botanical cocktails, inspiring talks and interactive workshops. Visitors can drop-in to the Indian wardrobe sessions or get closer to nature with a Vinyasa yoga class. Explore a taste sensation with the different flavours of Indian cuisine and take some inspiration home with a Henna hand tattoo or a treat from the Kew pop up shop.

Food and Drink will be available for purchase on the night. Tickets are £15.00 per person or £13.50 for members.

Tags: kew, london, travel

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