This week Phil and I have been helping Tomoko and the team at Kiseki no Hoshi to prepare the museum for the Special Orchid Exhibition, which opens from today until 8th March. Kiseki No Hoshi, or the ‘Miracle Planet Museum of Plants’ , is an experimental botanical museum where plants and nature exist in symbiosis with art, music, drama and dance to create a truly magical environment in which people can begin to understand and appreciate their natural surroundings. The museum has four central aims: to showcase nature from a Japanese viewpoint; to build bridges between people and nature and create a space for interaction with plants; to provide inspiration for the creation of green spaces in urban areas; and to provide a learning environment and educational programme for local residents and students.
Tomoko and her team transform the display at Kiseki no Hoshi seven times a year, changing, adapting and supplementing the planting in each of the museum’s six exhibition rooms – the plants gallery, the tropical garden, the healing garden, the fern room, the traditional Japanese gardening and lifestyle gallery, and the magnificent flower show space. To see this wonderful museum transform from a magical winter wonderland into a spectacular Orchid house in just ten days has been amazing – and to be a part of that transformation, a real privilege. For more information about Kiseki no Hoshi please refer to the museum’s website http://www.kisekinohoshi.jp/english#a02 .
So, as I said, this week Phil and I have been helping the staff at Kiseki no Hoshi to get the museum ready for the Special Orchid Exhibition, so let me show you what we’ve all been up to…
My job this week has been to create six colour-themed orchid ‘paintings’ in the plants gallery. The first task was to select suitable plants and to wrap the rootballs of these in sphagnum moss. It’s not as easy as it looks to get a nice tight moss ball, but with a bit of practice I soon got the hang of it.
Next job was to insert moss-balled foliage plants around the edges of these upcycled mattress frames to create the picture frames for my orchid artworks.
Then it was time to have some fun being creative with my selected orchids and foliage plants.
These are the finished ‘paintings’…
Tomoko stops to show the visiting dignitaries my work – a very proud moment for me!
Elsewhere at Kiseki no Hoshi…
It’s all change in the Flower Show Space as the Christmas exhibit is completely taken down and a beautiful orchid garden set up in its place.
Frames, tables, stands and pots are set up for the display of some of the many competition orchids.
A forklift truck moves this huge Cattleya, on loan to Kiseki no Hoshi from another institution, from the plants gallery to its new home in the tropical garden.
Turf is lifted and replaced in many of the exhibition rooms.
Tomoko arranges plants and orchids in special orchid pots in the tradition Japanese lifestyle, culture and gardening exhibition room.
A modern structure is filled with orchids and suspended from the museum ceiling in the atrium ceiling.
Entry after entry arrives for the Japan Orchid Society Contest…
…and the staff work hard to display them all.
While Phil and I have fortunately been finishing work this week at around 5:30pm, the museum’s full-time staff have been putting in very long hours, so lunch time is a good time to catch up on some much-needed sleep!
Today was the grand opening of the Special Orchid Exhibition, so Phil and I popped along to the museum to see the ribbon cut and the dance performance that would herald its opening to the public. Dance and drama always accompany Tomoko’s opening ceremonies at Kiseki no Hoshi, with each performance type perfectly suited to the museum exhibit. Today’s dance performance was by a local group of school children, but previous opening ceremonies have featured German Opera and belly dancing!
Finally, here are some of my favourite entries in the Japan Orchid Society Contest.
From top left, in rows running left to right: Cattleya kawabe Katsuko ‘Luka’; Brassocatanthe Dewy Forest ‘Blumen Insel’; Cattlianthe Poor Paul ‘Blue Heaven’; Rhyncholaeliocattleya Golf Green ‘Hair Pig’; Sophrolaeliocattleya Sunrise Doll ‘Aeka Venus’; Zygopetalum B.C. White ‘Harmony; Rhynochostylis gigantean; Phalaenopsis Arakaki Princess ‘A#2’; Pleurothallis marthae ‘Orchid Islands’; Coryanthes macrantha; Encyclia cordigera f. alba; Dendrobium fimbriatum; Dendrobium Bella Maree; Paphiopedilum Philipenese x Sanderianthus; Paphiopedilum Doctor Toot; Paphiopedilum Shin-Yi-Winner ‘Sacht’.