Sonya's Travels - Kew Gardens 2022 Orchid Festival

Sonya is our Houseplant Manager and also has many other responsibilities at Polar including ordering all of our spring and summer flowering bulbs as well as the Kinder Young Plants that arrive at this time of the year.  Sonya is passionate about plants, has a beautiful garden at home and a fine collection of houseplants.  When not working at Poplar or in her own garden Sonya loves to visit gardens, shows and plant exhibitions all over the country and we are are lucky enough to see a glimpse of this in the form of our Sonya’s Travels blogs.  

Sonya has just returned from a trip to Kew Gardens where they are currently holding their annual Orchid Festival: 

Wow! Isn’t it amazing to be getting out and about again!  With some wonderful gardens to visit and shows to look forward to - bring it on 2022 - I can’t wait for the inspiration!

We decided to visit Kew Gardens as it is holding it’s annual Orchid Festival celebrating Orchids through a Costa Rican paradise.  It is being held in the Princess of Wales Conservatory.  There is no extra cost but pre-booking is essential to gain a time slot.  It would be difficult to view the displays if it got too busy.

The Princess of Wales Conservatory always looks fabulous.  The horticultural team have made wonderful displays that transport you to another part of the world.  There are bright, brilliant colours and archways dripping with orchids, bromeliads and many other exotic plants.  Vibrant installations along the way created by a Costa Rican artist Dino Urpi combine our natural world and the beautiful bounty our planet has to offer.

I loved the stunning orchid displays, one of which appeared to be floating on the pond called the rising sun, a beautiful mix of colours not unlike a dolly mixture.  There were beams dripping with pink Phalaenopsis and more floating on the pond, all reflecting back from the water below.

On the bridge there was a snake with a body made up of silky grey air plants and a head of honesty, (Lunaria) dried seed heads.  It is extraordinary and very inventive.

There were turtles, birds and monkeys throughout, some suspended almost floating above the ground.  The monkeys looked very cheeky and were in different poses.

On my way around the conservatory I spotted many different plants including collections of Begonias - some common and others were more rare including this beautiful Begonia goegoensis (Fire King Begonia) pictured below.  This compact variety has short creeping stems with large leaves and produces sprays of pale pink flowers on arching stems in the summer.  

We often have Stromanthe (pictured below) in the nursery but I don’t remember ever seeing them flowering, so what a treat it was to see the blooms.  Stromanthe like bright, filtered light and high humidity which can be provided by misting regularly and a pebble tray under the pot.  During the growing season feed your Stromanthe with a balanced houseplant fertilizer.  

Kew Gardens is always worth a visit - there is always something to amazing to see. I loved the orchid festival and also enjoyed visiting the Temperate Glass House and The Palm house.

Click the link below to view Sonya's video:

We were very lucky to have a mild day and enjoyed the walk around Kew.  My only advice is to wear comfy shoes and appropriate clothing depending on the day.

Click here to visit the Kew Gardens Annual Orchid Festival page.