THE CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW 2020

The Chelsea Flower Show goes Virtual: World-renowned flower show cancelled amid Coronavirus outbreak

This year The Royal Horticultural Society made the difficult decision of cancelling The Chelsea Flower Show amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The show has been held every spring since 1912 on the grounds of The Royal Hospital Chelsea in London. Since then it has only been cancelled once before during the Second World War, but the show must go on!

What will the Chelsea Flower Show look like in 2020?

In an open letter addressed to the public on the RHS Website, Sue Biggs, RHS Director General explains that the RHS will create a Virtual RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Doing so to celebrate the horticultural industry and gardening heritage. Starting on Monday the 19th, viewers can stream the virtual show until Saturday the 23rd of May. All from the comfort and safety of their own home.

The RHS is yet to announce any further details on the show as they are still in the early planning stages.

Usually, the world-renowned event brings 157 000 visitors to the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. Home to around 300 veterans of the British army. The five-day event attracts all kinds of gardening enthusiasts, from members of the Royal Family to our very own South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens.

The latter is proudly represented by the Kirstenbosch Chelsea Flower Show exhibit for the past 44 years. Last year marking the 37th time SANBI brought home gold for their ‘Mountains of Abundance’ display. The display featured a handmade slate mountain standing at three metres tall. One side forming the silhouette of Magaliesburg, the other Table Mountain. The contemporary exhibit designed by Leon Kluge showcased the unique variety of South African flora.

'Mountains of Abundance' by SANBI wins gold at Chelsea Flower Show
Twitter/@KirstenboschNBG

“In addition to restios and fynbos, we have King Proteas in all the different colours this year – something I am very excited about. There are also rarer kinds of proteas included – such as a small species that lie on the sand and get pollinated by mice. All the plants have come together to produce a magical showcase of only a fraction of South Africa’s biodiversity.” Kluge stated.

With such a high standard set, one can only imagine the time, creativity and care poured into this year’s exhibit.

“Our team has worked incredibly hard over the past few months and we would like to thank everyone for their efforts and support. We look forward to sharing our concept and design with the public in future, as well as once again bringing home Gold for SANBI and Kirstenbosch in 2021” says Carmel Mbizvo, Acting CEO of SANBI

Despite the current circumstances, the members of SANBI maintain a positive outlook towards the future- As we all should.

In her letter, Biggs also noted the kindness, support and offers to help received from the horticultural communities and industry following the cancellation of the Chelsea Flower Show. They have also cancelled all other events taking place between now and the 30th of June. See here for the list of cancelled shows.