The Royal Horticultural Society hopes that the Virtual Chelsea Flower Show will be able to bring the spirit of the event to viewers at home and encourage more people to embrace the benefits of gardening.
To tie in with Mental Health Awareness Week, a key theme for this year’s Chelsea Flower Show has been highlighting the importance of gardening for improving mental health, with the RHS showing designs specifically celebrating the benefits of gardening for the mind.
A spokesperson for the RHS said: “As the UK’s leading gardening charity we are urging everyone to turn to gardening for their health and wellbeing during the pandemic. There is an immense amount of work and increasing evidence that highlights the importance of plants, gardens and gardening benefits for our physical, mental and social wellbeing.
“In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week, Wednesday’s virtual content will be all about celebrating the health and wellbeing benefits of plants, whilst looking at the importance of plant health.”
Despite having to move the show online after the outbreak of coronavirus, the RHS is still confident it has plenty for gardeners to enjoy from home. “We clearly cannot create what we had planned for the 2020 show online, but we will still be sharing some of the world’s best horticulture and providing garden design and plant inspiration, breathtaking displays and horticultural knowledge for everyone to enjoy.
“We have some fantastic household names along with RHS Chelsea designers, landscapers and growers taking part and they have pulled out all the stops to bring new ways to showcase their amazing talents in order to bring some of Chelsea’s magic online.”
Today Matt Keightley, designer of the 2018 Chelsea RHS Feel-Good Garden, will take part in a Q&A session explaining how people can maximise outdoor spaces for health and wellbeing, and BBC presenter Adam Frost will provide a guided tour of his rural garden in Lincolnshire.
Fans of foxgloves will also get tips from the Botanic Nursery and famed florist Nikki Tibbles will reveal her seasonal demonstration, which promises a “feast of colour and artistry”.
The Chelsea Flower Show will continue until Saturday, with each day packed full of exciting programmes to keep gardening enthusiasts entertained during lockdown.
On Thursday, the Chelsea Pensioners will invite viewers to join them in planting vegetables as they display their allotment, and Friday sees designer Tom Massey provide advice on how to turn your lawn into a mini-meadow.
On the final day the winners of the Chelsea Plant of the Decade and RHS Garden Product of the Year will be unveiled, after voters at home were asked to pick their favourites.
The RHS has been overwhelmed by the response to its decision to go digital, saying: “We’ve had some great feedback for the Virtual Show so far and a fantastic amount of interest and we’re looking forward to sharing more content throughout the week.”
If you enjoyed this content, why not check out our recent article: A new leaf: how gardening during the lockdown can improve your wellbeing