Freelance writer specialising in arts, travel and entertainment news, previews and reviews.
Gardens bloom into life with exotic display
The spectacular Diamond Sky is the star of the show at this year's Orchids Festival at Kew Gardens. This limited edition hybrid of the Phalaenopsis variety makes its debut from now until Sunday 9 March. The unique variety has petals in varying shades of pinkish purple, with gently mottled edges.
In the cooler months of February and March, the tropical splendour of the Princess of Wales Conservatory makes a great winter warmer. Step into the rainforest environment, where the temperature never drops below 21°C, for a varied display of colourful arrangements against a backdrop of luxuriant green foliage.
Cascades of Vanda orchids and drapes of tropical flowers add to the exotic atmosphere, while a centrepiece of a rainforest camp, complete with a floating canoe, overflowing with plants destined for distant lands, suggests a spirit of adventure.
During half term, (15-23 February) younger visitors will have the chance to don explorer's gear, grab some maps and equipment and go on a mini expedition to explore the wonderful world of plants.
If you'd like to take a little bit of the orchids' glamour home with you, a limited number of the Diamond Sky variety are on sale in the Victoria plaza shop during the festival.
You can also enjoy all the usual attractions of Kew Gardens, including the first buds of spring, as entrance to Orchids is included in the general entry ticket price.
Adult tickets are priced 14.50. Concessions for students, senior citizens and disabled are £12.50. Children aged 16 and under go free when accompanied by an adult.
Further information on all other attractions is available here www.kew.org