The Princess of Wales Conservatory is another of Kew’s grand glasshouses, with the primary attraction here being the assortment of controlled climate zones offering a mixed bag of flora. One minute you can be perambulating languidly amongst a chilly desert landscape, marvelling at the spiny cacti, and then the next find yourself on the periphery of a tropical pond, enjoying Amazonian waterlilies! Every year this fascinating display is enhanced by a late-winter festival, with tropics mayhem and a celebration of colour at the time of year when perhaps we need it most of all. The Orchid Festival started last weekend, and an unseasonal explosion of colour has lifted the old spirits and left us all yearning for the coming spring! This floriferous glory continues until Sunday 3rd March, and more information can be found here.
The following images were taken on my field telephone device, after the usual photographic contraption recently bid me adieu. Blasted thing! Normal service will resume shortly.
|A riot of hanging baskets and container displays set the scene, with hybrid Phalaenopsis orchids taking centre stage|
|Vast pillars have been decked out in the Phalaenopsis hybrids|
|This delightful medley is amongst the best of the pillars, with yellow Oncidium orchids providing a pleasing contrast of form|
|Bromeliads provide an excellent counterpoint to the Orchidaceae experience, with the blue and red inflorescence of Vriesea splendens being particularly unusual!|
|This clustered beast is the King Orchid, Dendrobium speciosum|
|A species orchid display is permanently housed in the POWC orchid zone that changes almost every week, and features such delights as this beautiful slipper orchid|
|And also this hybrid Brassocattleya!|
|The cacti zone is a wonderful place to explore, and surprisingly colourful at this time of year!|
|The yellow spikes of Aloe africana combine well with the daisy-heads of Senecio medley-woodii|
|This Echinopsis has an incredible form, and huge white blooms unfortunately not on display yet|
|“You there, boy! What day is this?”, Lord Turtle simply hasn’t the time for any of my nonsense today! Several tanks house this haughty egg and some other aquatic chaps|