BREAKING: Chelsea Flower Show has been cancelled for the first time since the Second World War

Emma-Louise Pritchard
Photo credit: Luke MacGregor/RHS

From Country Living

The RHS released a statement on Tuesday 17th March confirming that all of its upcoming shows between now and 30th June 2020 will be cancelled due to the spread of coronavirus. Cancellations include the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2020 (19th to 23rd May) and the RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2020 (7th to 10th May). It will be the first time the RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been cancelled since the Second World War.

In the press release, the society said: "This is a worldwide unprecedented and challenging time for so many people and of course the health and safety of our members, visitors, exhibitors and staff remains our number one priority."

The decision follows the UK Government's move to no longer support mass gathering events in an attempt to ease pressure on the emergency services. As a result, the following RHS Shows will now be cancelled:

  • RHS London Spring Launch & Orchid Show, 7-8 April
  • RHS Botanical Art and Photography Show, 17-18 April
  • RHS Flower Show Cardiff, 17-19 April
  • RHS Malvern Spring Festival, 7–10 May
  • RHS Chelsea Flower Show, 19–23 May
  • RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, 11–14 June
  • RHS Garden Harlow Carr Flower Show, 26-28 June (we will investigate if RHS Harlow Carr Flower Show can be moved into July)

The RHS will be in touch with all ticket holders for the above events in due course. They are asking members not to get in touch with them directly to allow them to follow procedure as quickly as possible.

"One of the many reasons why we cannot postpone any of these large events to later in the year is that most of the thousands of plants grown for these Shows are chosen because they are at their best in spring," explains the release.

RHS Shows falling after the 30th June are still planning on going ahead.

"We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and following advice and guidelines set by Government," the press release reads.

"We hope as they are later in the year, that the following RHS Shows may continue, but we will continue to follow Government advice and will update you immediately if this changes. The option of a full refund would once again apply should this happen."

The following shows are currently still running:

  • RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, 6-12 July
  • RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, 22–26 July
  • RHS Garden Hyde Hall Flower Show, 5 – 9 August
  • RHS Garden Rosemoor Flower Show, 14 – 16 August
  • RHS Garden Wisley Flower Show, 8– 13 September

Sue Biggs, RHS Director General, says: “In these unprecedented challenging times we have carefully followed Government advice and made difficult, responsible decisions with the health and safety of people at the foremost of our minds.

“Our RHS Shows are vitally important platforms for the horticultural industry, and we are especially aware of the impact of cancelling these events on everyone involved. We will be doing all we can to help growers and nurseries to sell the plants they will have grown for the cancelled Shows.

“As with everyone, we have no crystal ball, but for the time being we are planning our Summer Flower Shows and our Gardens remain open, as they are large outside spaces where people can escape in open space and benefit from some tranquillity and beauty, surrounded by nature – all things that are much needed during these unsettling times.

“Things of course may change, but whatever decisions we make, safety will be utmost in our mind and we will, like the rest of the world, be monitoring the situation closely.”

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