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Chelsea Flower Show goes online with virtual garden tours and plant displays

The world-famous horticultural show has been cancelled by the coronavirus lockdown.

The Chelsea Flower Show is going online with virtual garden tours, a school gardening club, recreated plant displays and growing tips from experts.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has revealed its plans for the first-ever “virtual” version of its world-famous flower show after the event normally held at Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, was cancelled due to the lockdown.

For the duration of the show, between May 18 and 23, the RHS website will host a range of free content from experts in the gardening world along with exclusive content for the charity’s members.

Each morning, the show will start with a tour from a leading designer, florist or gardening personality of their own private gardens.

Flower displays in the grand pavilion are usually a central feature of the show (Victoria Jones/PA)
Flower displays in the grand pavilion are usually a central feature of the show (Victoria Jones/PA)

A daily “school gardening club” will provide activities for families to get together, dig, plant and get closer to nature, the RHS said.

A selection of UK growers who would normally exhibit at Chelsea will also take virtual visitors to the show on behind-the-scenes tours of their nurseries.

Some of the growers will be replicating the plant displays they were going to put on in the grand pavilion of the Chelsea Flower Show and they will also host daily “potting bench” demonstrations with techniques on growing and maintaining healthy plants.

RHS advisers will be joined each lunchtime by a special guest for an interactive Q&A session and people will also be able to vote on 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.

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.

“I’m also delighted that despite such challenging circumstances the BBC are producing a special series of programmes celebrating the world’s greatest flower show which will air throughout ‘virtual’ show week on BBC One and Two.

“We really hope the virtual show will help fill the gap caused by the sad but necessary cancellation of this year’s show and will inspire more people to get growing.”

People who want to find out more about the virtual show can visit rhs.org.uk/Chelsea

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