Everything You Need to Know About Chelsea Flower Show as It Goes Digital

This Homebase Urban Retreat Garden, designed by Adam Frost, won gold at the 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show
This Homebase Urban Retreat Garden, designed by Adam Frost, won gold at the 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show | | © Ellen Rooney / Alamy Stock Photo
Josephine Platt

Commissioning Editor

Horticulturists and mental-health experts alike know that spending time in nature boosts wellbeing, hence the popularity of the annual RHS Chelsea Flower Show. This celebration of the natural world might not be taking place in real life in 2020, but you can still get your gardening inspo virtually.

Lupins on display at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which this year goes virtual

Founded in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London in 1913, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show has only been forced to close twice in its history – during the final two years of the First World War and then throughout the Second World War, when the land was required by the War Office for an anti-aircraft site.

Now it’ll take more than a global pandemic to get in the way of British stoicism, and the 2020 show must go on. The Queen, who is patron of this lauded annual event in the British calendar, has sent a message of support for this year’s virtual show. Many royals are regular visitors, and the Duchess of Cambridge even designed her own garden for the 2019 show. And while they might not be getting the 157,000 ticket holders through the gates this year, it is still likely to be a wonderful virtual affair.

Practical advice and demonstrations are still part of this year’s virtual RHS Chelsea Flower Show

So how does it work? Cunningly. The digital experience offers all you might see IRL: practical gardening advice from world-leading designers, potting demonstrations and behind-the-scenes tours of nurseries such as Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants and Raymond Evison’s iconic clematis nursery.

Garden experts and TV personalities including Alan Titchmarsh and Monty Don will be tuning in from their gardens during the event, which this year explores themes such as health and wellbeing and growing plants in indoor spaces. Always hoped to perfect the art of growing peonies and tulips? What about achilleas? You’ll be an expert by May 23.

The WS Warmhoven gold-medal-winning allium display at the 2019 Chelsea Flower Show

Head to RHS Chelsea here to watch daily snippets or to BBC Two here for full coverage of the event

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