This Year You Can Attend the Chelsea Flower Show from Your Living Room

Steele Marcoux
Photo credit: Aaron Chown - PA Images - Getty Images
Photo credit: Aaron Chown - PA Images - Getty Images

From Veranda

If you've always dreamed of attending the Royal Horticultural Society's annual Chelsea Flower Show but haven't been able to travel across the pond—or it you were planning to go this year but your travel plans were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic—you're in luck: It will be held virtually this year for the first time in its 107-year history.

Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images

From May 18 to 23, the RHS will share videos and articles from regular Chelsea exhibitors on its website.

"We'll be bringing you tours from well-known garden designers, florists, and gardening personalities of their own private gardens as they share their top design tips, favourite planting combinations, and gardening trends with virtual visitors," the RHS said in their announcement on Instagram May 13.

The Chelsea Flower Show has been featuring prized plants, gardening ideas, and flowers since it was first held in 1913. Called the Great Spring Show, it lasted three days and took place under a single marquee. The show was cancelled for a period of years during both the First and Second World Wars.

Photo credit: Central Press - Getty Images
Photo credit: Central Press - Getty Images

Royal visits to the show did not become a tradition until later on. Queen Elizabeth II, now a fixture at the show, made her first visit as queen in 1955. She was made a royal patron of the RHS in June 1952.

Photo credit: GEOFF PUGH - Getty Images
Photo credit: GEOFF PUGH - Getty Images

Highlights of this year's virtual show include:

  • Interactive lunchtime Q&A sessions with RHS advisors and special guests

  • Behind-the-scenes tours from award-winning nurseries

  • A daily school Gardening Club with activities for families to grow plants and connect with nature

  • Voting for the RHS Chelsea Plant of the Decade; the RHS Chelsea Product of the Year; and the BBC/RHS People’s Choice Garden of the Decade

The RHS has also teamed up with BBC's The One Show to challenge its fans to share their own green spaces—from balconies, window boxes, and kids' gardens to gardens and landscaped yards—on social media with the hashtag #mychelseagarden. Judges will award a winner from each category four tickets to the 2021 Chelsea Flower Show; the competition closes May 18.

Photo credit: Karwai Tang - Getty Images
Photo credit: Karwai Tang - Getty Images

“Plants, gardening, and the natural world have never been so important to us," says Sue Biggs, director general of the RHS. "At the RHS, we are acutely aware of the benefits that gardening and nurturing plants can have on our mental health and well-being. This competition is a great way to encourage people to garden."

RHS members will have access to additional Chelsea Flower Show content beginning May 18. Furthermore, the BBC will kick off coverage of the virtual event with favorite presenters Sophie Raworth, Joe Swift, Nicki Chapman, and Monty Don on May 17.

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