Now in its 26th year, Kew Gardens’ annual festival, Orchids, will celebrate the rich and colorful culture of Costa Rica. Visitors can escape the UK’s dreary winter weather and step inside a glasshouse filled with vibrant horticultural displays and animated soundscapes, transporting them to the tropics of Central America.
The route around the Princess of Wales Conservatory will be designed to recreate the country’s landscape, taking visitors from the southern shores, where the Pacific Ocean laps its world-renowned beaches, to the northern coastline that looks out onto the Caribbean Sea. Along the way, displays will feature native animals – including monkeys, sea turtles, toads, quetzal and hummingbirds- all made from plants. A highlight will be the resplendent quetzal, a bird native to Costa Rica and a charismatic symbol for the protection of the country’s forests, and the central display in the glasshouse pond will be filled with brilliant vibrant orchids and bromeliads.
RBG Kew and Costa Rica
Kew’s focus on Costa Rica for Orchids 2022 will highlight the country’s unique position as a biodiversity hotspot. Home to 5% of the world’s biodiversity, even though it covers just 0.03% of the planet, it is a role model for the conservation of biodiversity; with around a quarter of its land part of a protected forest or reserve. Kew has many collaborative scientific projects in Costa Rica, which include constructing a ‘family tree’ for all its orchid species to learn how to better protect them, and documenting plants in La Amistad Biosphere Reserve - one of the richest places on Earth for plant diversity.
Will Spoelstra, Glasshouse Manager at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew said: “Every year we enjoy brightening up the gloomy winter months with creative, vibrant and beautiful displays for Orchids, and this time around feels all the more pertinent after last year’s closure – the first ever in the 27-year run of the festival. Costa Rica is a major orchid habitat with so many interesting species, and has much to teach us about conservation as the world faces such huge threats from biodiversity loss. Visitors will be able to safely enjoy a coast-to-coast journey across this tropical paradise that we’re aiming to recreate inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, and learn a thing or two about its diversity and cultural wonders along the way.”
For more information:
Royal Botanic Gardens