Escape the winter blues and surround yourself with beautiful orchids in the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew Gardens.

Wandsworth Times:

The popular orchid festival returns in 2015, allowing visitors to experience an explosion of colour and discover why the plants evolved to become as vibrant and diverse.

Unique shapes, colours and smells all play a role in helping the blooming plants survive by tempting, exploiting and attracting their pollinators - making them one of the most successful plant families on Earth.

Lara Jewitt, head of the tropical nursery at Kew Gardens, explains: "Orchids have some jaw-dropping attraction mechanisms. They can dress themselves up as female insects and lure male pollinators to the flower with stunning looks and smells.

"This tricks male insects into copulating with them and brings about pollination. It’s an incredibly cunning and bewitching facet of these incredible plants."

While the colourful blooms captivate visitors, the story of pollination will be brought to life with a giant centrepiece crafted from the flowers.

During their journey through the glasshouse, visitors will weave through displays, clusters and monochromatic bowls of oncidium, vanda and phalaenopsis orchids, winding their way up the arches in double helixes.

Elisa Biondi, display horticulturalist, says: "I’ve been thrilled to work on the designs for this year’s festival.

"Orchids are not beautiful for nothing and it’s incredibly exciting to be able to show visitors just how clever they are through our displays."

The Princess of Wales Conservatory will reopen after dark for a series of late events during the festival.

The three evenings - February 19 and 26 and March 5 - will feature a cocktail bar, botanical talks, music and crafts while the glasshouse is lit up after the rest of the gardens has closed to the public.

Wandsworth Times:

A number of tours and hands-on events will also take place and behind the scenes tours of the tropical nursery for an additional £5 take place on Saturdays.

Alluring Orchids; Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew Gardens, Kew Road, Kew; February 7 to March 8, open from 9.30am to 5.30pm; £15, £14 concessions, under 16s free; for tickets, visit