The First Virtual Chelsea Flower Show Opens. Here Are Our Highlights

by Rozalia Jovanovic

As the first ever virtual Chelsea Flower Show kicks off today, in place of its canceled real world show, the Royal Horticultural Society will bring you a week filled with great events hosted by top floral designers and gardeners, and you don’t even need to leave your home.

“In the absence of the world’s greatest flower show,” said Sue Biggs, Director General of the Royal Horticultural Society, “at a time when gardening, growing plants and access to nature has never been so important, we are delighted to still be able to bring you some of the very best in horticulture.”

Beginning today, May 18, with the Members Day and running through May 23, the show will feature new content each day that will remain online for one week so you can take it in at your own pace. And for those who have never been in person, this may just be your chance to experience the world’s best floral artists and gardeners in action.

Recommended: Netflix’s ‘The Big Flower Fight’ Is Here

And while garden designers will be angling for gold medals and best in show, we’ll be waiting on the People’s Choice Award. This year, you can vote on the garden of the decade from the past winners. Go to the BBC to see the contenders and vote!

Here are our highlights for the week.

Chelsea Flower Show 2020

Monday, May 18—Members Day

Join clematis specialist Raymond Evison, as he takes you behind the scenes at his award-winning Guernsey nursery. Evison, who was awarded the RHS Victoria Medal of Honour in 1995 for his outstanding service to British Horticulture and an OBE in 2000, has introduced over 100 clematis species cultivars in his lifetime. His nursery is one of the largest specialist producers of clematis plants in the world.

Tuesday, May 19—Perfect Plants

Sarah Eberle, the most decorated female designer of the flower show, will welcome you into her naturalistic woodland garden and share her top tips for summer gardening. About the role of the flower show, Eberle has said, “I strongly believe it is a classroom for the designer; a period of self-discipline, personal development, team building and responsibility.’ You can also meet the team at David Austin Roses who have been bringing their award-winning roses to the show for nearly four decades.

Chelsea Flower Show Luke MacGregor

Wednesday, May 20—Health & Wellbeing

On this day celebrating the health and wellbeing benefits of plants and flowers as well as the health of plants and flowers, join garden and landscape designer and BBC presenter Adam Frost as he takes you around his Lincolnshire garden and shares insights into gardening with plant health in mind. And celebrated florist and Wild at Heart founder Nikki Tibbles shows you how to create a sensational seasonal bouquet.

Thursday, May 21—Grow Your Own

Learn how to create chic table settings with celebrity florist Larry Walshe who are known for their sensational public installations and bespoke collaborations, such as a divine ‘Under the Sea’ tableaux with giant jellyfish made of fresh flowers for Monica Vinader. Cut flower expert Sarah Raven will lead you through her garden in Perch Hill and show you what’s ready for cutting.

morgan stanley garden at chelsea flower show

Friday, May 22—Wildlife & Environment

Taking inspiration from his design intended for this year at Yeo Valley Garden, Tom Massey will show you how to create an organic wildlife haven on a smaller scale. And don’t miss Sienna Hosta who, as Friday’s expert grower, will lead a tour of the most outstanding plants grown for this year’s show.

Chelsea Flower Show Georgi Mabee

Saturday May 23—Small Space Gardening

This seems tailor-made for us: Transform your indoor space with this guide to propagating weird and wonderful plants by Andy’s Air Plants and interior planting team RoCo.

Throughout the week there are tons of other fun offerings. Learn how to create mini gardens with your kids from The School Gardening Club. Or pop in for a lunchtime Q&A with Chelsea favorites Jo Thompson, Chris Beardshaw, and Matthew Wilson.

Photo credits: Images 1-4 and featured image: RHS/Luke MacGregor; last image: RHS/Georgi Mabee