Home Coronavirus Updates Chelsea goes digital

Chelsea goes digital

by Saul Leese

Chelsea Flower Show, the world’s most famous floral show, will be held as a virtual event from 18-23 May. For six days the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) will work with expert gardeners and celebrities to deliver the B2C exhibition.

The first day will be open to RHS members and there will be some free content available for non-members.

The BBC will cover the event from 19 May and Gardeners World presenter Joe Swift will be joined by garden writer and broadcaster Monty Don. Other presenters will also join the show from their own gardens including news reader Sophie Raworth who will join Swift from her garden as they review a ‘best of’ compilation from previous shows.

There will also be lunchtime interactive Q&A sessions with RHS advisors and special guests. Participants are also encouraged to send in pictures of their own gardens for judgement during the show, and viewers will also be able to vote for the RHS People’s Choice Garden.

Shows including Countryfile and Gardeners’ World have continued working in the background during the nationwide lockdown by encouraging relatives to film before installing fixed-camera equipment in people’s home.

Factual commissioner Catherine Catton said: ‘We’re using the techniques we’ve learned on Gardeners’ World, so we’re doing families. They’re presenting from their gardens and we either split-screen or you alternate between them. It works really nicely.

‘It’s fun and it’s nice being in their gardens and having a nose around. Gardening has fast become one of Britain’s favourite lockdown hobbies.”

Despite more people ordering plants online during lockdown about 650 UK businesses produce ornamental plants, contributing £1.4 billion to the economy and employing 15,000 people directly, according to the Horticultural Trades Association. An HTA report at the end of April warned that one in three businesses feared they would likely be insolvent this year, with the association calling for more government help.


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