The International Horticultural Exposition Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2011 is a special occasion for the Thai nation and the Thai people as they commemorate the auspicious 84th birthday anniversary of His Majesty the King (the seventh 12-year cycle of life in the Asian tradition) and the 80th birthday anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen. Due to the prominent role played by agriculture in Thai economic, social and cultural life, both Their Majesties have spent their lifetimes working for the cause of environmental sustainability, water and nature conservation, and poverty alleviation. All their efforts over the years will be highlighted at the Expo.

Another highlight of the exposition is the miniature lotus. This lotus flower is very small and can be grown in small containers like bowls or coffee cups. Requiring only a little sunlight, it can thrive even in the shade.

Lovers of the plant kingdom, members of the travel trade, consumers, agro-scientists, conservationists, and all those keen to help tackle global warming, climate change, and similar looming challenges of the 21st century, will find that the place to be is at Thailand’s greatest garden show, the International Horticultural Exposition Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2011.

Held in the northern province of Chiang Mai between 14 December 2011 and 14 March 2012, the Expo will be spread out over an 80-hectare area, a lush and refreshing display of colorful plants and flowers and greenery from Thailand and 30 other countries. In view of the linkage between nature conservation and the health-and-wellness phenomena, the Expo will be accompanied by three separate scientific international symposiums dedicated to major types of flora: 1) Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, 2) Tropical and Subtropical Fruits, and 3) Orchids and Ornamental Plants.

Most interestingly, visitors will see for the first time at this Expo a fascinating innovation in horticulture developed by Thai agriculturalists a giant color-changing lotus. This lotus is usually categorized under the same group as the giant lotus of Australia, which is considered very rare. Thailand’s Lotus Research Department, Ministry of Agriculture, has developed it as a thoroughbred. When cross-breeding is done properly, a total of five colors is achieved: white, pink, light blue, dark blue, and purple. The lotus petals change their color, starting from white in its first bloom and gradually darkening every day till finally the color turns to fuchsia. The flower will bloom for up to six days. The best time to admire this miracle is on a bright, sunny day between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.