Colombian orchids celebrated at Kew festival

Colombia’s landscape is as diverse as the flora and fauna that inhabit it, from tropical beaches to snow-capped mountains and everything in between. Home to more orchid species than anywhere else in the world, Colombia’s unparalleled biodiversity and vibrant culture is the inspiration for Kew’s 24th annual Orchids Festival in February 2019.

Stepping into the Princess of Wales Conservatory, visitors will find themselves transported to an entrancing paradise evoking the sights, smells and sounds of Colombia. The experience is an immersive journey through the different zones of the glasshouse where visitors will encounter staggeringly beautiful orchid displays which each represent aspects of Colombian wildlife and culture.

Colombia is famed for its wildlife diversity and boasts the greatest 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 composed of stunning orchids, bromeliads and other tropical plants.



Colombia’s famous rainbow river, Caño Cristales, will be represented through a breath-taking cascade of hundreds of colourful hanging vandas, and visitors will also delight in an enchanting forest scene complete with life-sized jaguars. Elsewhere a display of hundreds of colourful butterflies will be suspended from the glasshouse ceiling and the legend of El Dorado will be depicted through an intricate golden floating display bursting with bright yellow orchids in the glasshouse pond.

This year’s festival will also showcase some of Kew's work with Colombia to help identify, protect and promote the country’s biodiversity. Since the signing of the peace accord between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla group, huge areas of the country previously unknown to science are now waiting to be explored. Working with their Colombian counterparts, Kew’s scientists are undertaking intrepid field trips to discover new plants, aid conservation efforts, and promote sustainable development.

Throughout the Orchids Festival, there will also be a programme of weekend and evening events and activities featuring Colombian music, dance and cuisine, as well as a series of engaging talks from Kew’s orchid experts.



Elisa Biondi, Supervisor of the Princess of Wales Conservatory says: “Colombia has formed a unique inspiration for the next 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.”

Kew is working closely with the Colombian Embassy in London to bring some of the essence of Colombia’s rich culture to life at the festival. The Ambassador of Colombia to the UK, Néstor Osorio Londoño says: “Joint scientific research and sustainable development are key priorities of the Roadmap that guides the bilateral cooperation agenda between Colombia and the United Kingdom. The Embassy of Colombia and Kew Gardens have partnered to produce the 2019 Orchids Festival, a magnificent showcase of Colombia’s biodiversity and culture.”

Entry to the Orchids Festival is included in the standard ticket to the gardens.

For more information:
Kew Gardens
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Richmond
TW9 3AE
UK

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