For the first time in its 108-year history, the RHS is postponing RHS Chelsea Flower Show to take place in the autumn instead of spring, due to the worldwide pandemic.
The 2021 show, which would have taken place between 18 May and 23 May, has been moved to run from 21 September to 26 September. The RHS will still hold the world famous event at The Royal Hospital, Chelsea.
Before postponing the show, the RHS had planned to introduce new health and safety measures to the event, such as reducing visitor numbers and spreading the Show over an extra day. However, as lockdown continues and the coronavirus infection rate remains high, it has taken the decision the decision to delay the RHS Chelsea Flower Show until the autumn, when it is hoped millions more people will have been vaccinated and it is more likely that the levels of infection will have reduced substantially.
The RHS will be in touch with everyone who has purchased a ticket for the event to date. It is asking that ticket holders please refrain from contacting us immediately so that it can handle this situation as efficiently as possible.
Whilst the September show will be very different to the usual spring event, the RHS believes it will celebrate the best of autumn horticulture, with many seasonal highlights including Salvias, Asters, Dahlias, grasses and fruit and vegetables. As well as looking back at its historic Great Autumn Show for inspiration, the RHS says it is excited about the ideas exhibitors will have to create spectacular autumnal gardens and displays. Exhibitors who were to take part in the cancelled May event will all be given the opportunity to be at the autumn RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The RHS will also be opening up applications for new gardens, nurseries and content.
In addition to the autumn event, the RHS will once again hold its RHS Virtual Chelsea Flower Show online, during the May show week, which millions of people across the UK and around the world tuned into last year.
Sue Biggs, RHS director general, says: “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.
“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.
“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.”
As was planned for the event in May, RHS Chelsea Flower Show in September will be spread over six days instead of five, with the same reduced number of visitors, another first in its history. There are many further coronavirus safety precautions being put in place for exhibitors, everyone involved in the show, visitors and RHS staff and volunteers.