The world-famous Chelsea Flower Show has taken place every year since 1913 – bar two gaps for World War I and World War II. Sadly the show was cancelled this year due to coronavirus lockdown measures, but it was recently announced that a virtual version will take place this May for the first time ever.
Between 18 and 23 May, the Royal Horticultural Society will host a range of free content online, including garden tours, school gardening clubs and online floristry displays. Each day will begin with a video of a private garden tour by a leading designer, florist or gardener, alongside ‘potting bench’ demonstrations showing techniques for growing and maintaining plants.
Lunchtimes will see RHS advisers being joined by a special guest for an interactive Q&A session, while ‘school gardening clubs’ will offer gardening activity ideas for families. A series of programmes celebrating the show will also be broadcast on BBC One and Two throughout the week.
Special guest and ticket-holders will be able to vote for awards including RHS Chelsea plant of the decade and RHS Chelsea product of the year.
Here are some of the highlights:
19 May: Perfect Plants
Sarah Eberle, the most decorated female designer in Chelsea history, will welcome visitors into her naturalistic, woodland garden. Elsewhere, leading indoor garden specialist Ian Drummond and expert gladioli grower Rob Evans from Pheasant Acre Plants will be leading Tuesday’s Potting Bench Tutorials.
20 May: Health & Wellbeing
Content on Wednesday will focus around the health benefits of plants – as well as the importance of plant health. BBC Presenter and multi gold medal winning designer Adam Frost will explain how he gardens with plant health in mind as he shows visitors around his Lincolnshire garden. Eleswhere, Nikki Tibbles of Wild at Heart will be showing visitors how to create a seasonal bouquet.
21 May: Grow Your Own
Cut flower expert Sarah Raven will take visitors on a tour of her garden at Perch Hill in East Sussex to showcase what’s ready for cutting in the garden now. Celebrity florist Larry Walshe will also be demonstrating how to use flowers and foliage from the garden to create a chic table setting, and vegetable grower Medwyn Williams will share his top tips on how to grow amazing veg at home.
22 May: Wildlife & Environment
Tom Massey will be demonstrating how to create an organic wildlife haven, while award winning designer Ann-Marie Powell will welcome viewers into her Hampshire garden as she shares her top design tips.
23 May: Small Space Gardening
Tune into Andy Sturgeon’s courtyard garden tour for tips on gardening in small spaces, and meet the UK’s oldest orchid nursery, McBeans Orchids.
Sue Biggs, RHS director general, said: ‘We’re lucky to live in a digital age where we’re able to bring aspects of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show online so we can continue to share the world’s best in horticulture and bring garden design inspiration, breath-taking displays and horticultural knowledge for the nation to enjoy during this difficult time.’
The first Chelsea Flower Show took place on 20 May 1913, with the first events held over three days within a single marquee. Since then it has blossomed into one of the world’s most famous and esteemed flower shows. Check out the highlights from over the years here for a reminder of all the beauty that London possesses and that good things are yet to come.
Content will be available at rhs.org.uk
18 – 23 May 2020
Visit rhs.org.uk and tune into shows on BBC One and Two throughout the week. Content is free to watch.