The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is usually the highlight of the gardening calendar in Spring. However, for the first time in the show's history, it is due to be postponed until the Autumn due to the pandemic.
This morning The Royal Horticultural Society announced that it has decided to postpone the show for the first time in 108 years. The famous flower show has been running since 1913 and only been cancelled during the first and second world war.
Last year the show resisted cancelling by taking the event virtual. However, this year in a bid to make sure the show can go ahead in its usual location at The Royal Hospital in Chelsea the date has been moved from 18th May to the 21st September.
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Measures had been put in place to try and ensure that the show could happen safely in May, including adding an extra day to the show to reduce visitors. However, the current UK infection rate has made it impossible to go ahead with these plans.
‘In these challenging times we have always followed Government advice and made difficult, responsible decisions with the health and safety of people our key concern,’ explains Sue Biggs, RHS Director General in a statement.
‘Whilst we are sad to have had to delay RHS Chelsea and are sorry for the disruption this will cause. We are excited that we are still planning to bring the world’s best-loved gardening event to the nation at a time when more people are gardening more than ever.’
The RHS Director General notes that while the new Autumn date will come with it’s own set of unique challenges, she is optimistic about the opportunities it might bring.
‘We know that the autumn dates may not be suitable for everyone, but with our fantastic industry partners we will do everything we can to support them and create a show that will be a moment in history.’
‘It will be exciting to see different horticulture and showcase the key autumn gardening season at the world’s most famous flower show. We believe many designers and nurseries will look forward to working with different plants that would not be available or at their best in May.’
‘Never have so many people gardened in recent times, nor needed the benefits of gardening more, so we will do our utmost to deliver a beautiful, uplifting and different RHS Chelsea safely in September 2021.’
The RHS has said that it will be in touch with everyone who has already purchased a ticket for the event. The Autumn event will follow the same plan as the one for May, including lasting for six days instead of five, with a reduced number of visitors.
The RHS shows in Hampton Court and Tatton Park are still planned to go ahead in July. However, if you can’t wait till then the RHS plans to host another RHS Virtual Chelsea Flower Show online in May.
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