An open Letter from Sue Biggs, RHS Director General. Regarding the creation of an online Virtual RHS Chelsea Flower Show 18-23 May 2020.
Dear gardening friends and horticultural community,
All of us here at the RHS have been extremely touched and moved by all the support, kindness and offers for help from the horticultural industry. Our members, volunteers, show visitors, the BBC and so many more following the sad cancellation of RHS Chelsea Flower Show and our other shows and garden events until 30 June due to Covid-19.
When so many people, businesses, charities and everyone in the horticultural industry are going through such tough and challenging times, we are even more grateful for this support and people taking time to get in touch. Which is why I wanted to write this note and thank you all. It has meant so much to all of us who have the honour and joy of creating this world famous gardening show.
Two things have become very evident since these cancellations. The first is that so many, whether watching on the BBC or attending the show, whilst understanding this decision, feel such an immense hole in their lives and deep disappointment that RHS Chelsea will not take place this year.
The second is how many feel they need gardening in their life now more than ever before for their mental and physical wellbeing during this national emergency. This applies to everyone from those who are having to self-isolate to families planning, maybe for the first time, to grow their own food.
For these reasons, and to do more to support the industry, the RHS will create a Virtual RHS Chelsea Flower Show, to celebrate our great horticultural industry and gardening heritage with ‘press day’ being Monday 18 May 2020 and the Virtual Show running from Tuesday 19 May to Saturday 23 May.
As you can imagine we’re at the early stages of planning this, so more details will be announced in coming weeks. We cannot create the actual show at The Royal Hospital Chelsea, but we are looking at what we can do on our RHS website and other platforms for people to enjoy and to share the joy of gardening. We will of course be asking for the ideas and involvement of growers, nurseries, designers, landscapers and tradestands too and look forward to sharing ideas very soon.
In the meantime, thank you again from all of us at the RHS for your support and kindness during this difficult and sad time.
Stay safe and look after yourselves
All the very best,
Sue Biggs, CBE RHS Director General