Queen Elizabeth II on Monday visited Taiwan’s orchid booth at the Chelsea Flower Show in London and appeared intrigued by the display, which included an “orchid tree” and a golden dragon surrounded by thousands of fresh orchids from Taiwan.
The booth was decorated with several sky lanterns made of Hakka-style cotton print fabric, which caught the eye of the queen, who was visiting Taiwan’s orchid display for the third year in a row.
She asked Taiwanese Representative to the UK Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡) about the significance of the lanterns, which are usually made of paper and are lit for release into the sky.
Shen said people use the lanterns to pray for luck, while the dragon was a traditional symbol of royalty.
Many of the flowers at the base of the dragon were organized in five rings to represent the five Olympic rings, as London prepares for the Summer Games, Shen said.
The display’s general design was also conceived to congratulate the queen on her diamond jubilee, Shen added.
The “orchid tree” at the center of the exhibit was made of 20,000 fresh premium orchids of 50 different species, all of which were transported from Taiwan by air, according to its creator, the Taiwan Orchid Growers Association.
Association secretary-general Tseng Chun-pi (曾俊弼) said it was the first time his organization had “built an orchid tree” at the annual flower show.
“All the flowers on the tree were preserved using Taiwan’s own freshness-preserving technique before being shipped to Britain,” he said. “Although they have been here for nearly a week, they still look very fresh. I believe they will continue to look as beautiful until the end of the show.”
The 2012 Chelsea Flower Show, which formally opened yesterday and runs through Saturday, has more than 500 participating groups from Taiwan, Thailand, Slovenia, Japan, Australia, France, the Netherlands and Jamaica, among other countries. It is expected to attract 160,000 visitors.