A birthday treat to myself – a day trip to Thailand …

While the Beast from the East continues to freeze and snow lies deep and crisp and even on the ground, I thought today would be a good day to find warmer climes – by way of the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew – and explore the floral delights of Thailand. Their annual orchid extravaganza is on for just a few days more and while outside looked and certainly felt more arctic, inside it was a balmy few degrees closer to the tropics, and a welcome humidity too.

Once again, a faultless rainbow of colour and though it is an annual institution now, with set pieces – towering towers and beautiful arches de rigueur –  it remains a remarkable feat of engineering and artistry. While temperatures outside struggle to climb above zero – inside it’s a full-on tropical jungle experience. Orchids and yet more orchids. Pure Orchidology – (you’ve got an ‘ology’ you’re a scientist… – a hard to resist Maureen Lipman/BT reference there -).

I’ll leave the photos to tell the story – though as a purveyor of houseplants to the borough, I would say the conditions Kew are able to provide in these glasshouses – and the relative temperatures and humidity vary considerably as you pass from one door through another – is a sage reminder that many of our much-loved and very well-travelled houseplants like it much warmer/cooler/brighter/less bright/more humid/much more humid/dryer than we can hope to provide in our own homes. Get it right of course, and this is what you can achieve …


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