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Chelsea Flower Show pushed back to autumn for first time ever

Natasha Preskey
·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The Chelsea Flower Show has been postponed to September this year for the first time in its 108-year history.

The Royal Horticultural Society announced on 27 January that its week-long event would be pushed back from May to September 2021.

A virtual Chelsea Flower Show will still take place in May, as it did last year. The online show allowed people to watch a livestream of the event, including behind-the-scenes garden tours and Q&As with RHS experts and guests.

The in-person event is scheduled to take place from 21 to 26 September and will still be held at The Royal Hospital, Chelsea.

The RHS said that it had been preparing measures, including reduced visitor numbers and spreading the show over an extra day, in the hopes the show could still take place in May.

However, due to the high Covid infection rate and "no guarantee on what tier London may be in over spring", the RHS said it had decided to postpone.

The organisation said "millions more people will have been vaccinated" in September and infection rates are likely to be lower.

The September show will still be spread over six days instead of five and host a reduced number of visitor, as was planned for May.

The RHS's first ever September show will celebrate autumn horticulture, including Salvias, Asters, Dahlias, grasses and fruit and vegetables.

The RHS's director general Sue Biggs said the new date offers the opportunity to feature plants that would not be available or at their best in spring.

She said: "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."

Last year’s show had a sustainability focus, with growers and designers using the event as a platform to promote a more environmentally-friendly future.

Award-winning designers Hugo Bugg and Charlotte Harris created a communal residential garden with a focus on establishing “vital green space” in places that need it most.

Harris acknowledged that more people were living in cities which, in turn, are getting hotter due to climate change, stating that there was a “primal need for green space on a physical level, mental level, environmental level”.

The duo used recycled and repurposed materials and sustainable elements in their garden, which aimed to create “moments of joy and respite” in a “very beautiful but urban space”.

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