Gardens Illustrated

RHS Virtual Chelsea Flower Show 2021 preview

Published: May 14, 2021 at 12:01 am

It’s back. After redefining Chelsea and saving the day last year, Virtual Chelsea is once more replacing the famous live event in favour of a safer, stay-at-home experience. Here's what's on.

What’s better than one RHS Chelsea Flower Show? How about TWO RHS Chelsea Flower Shows?


With last year’s show in May cancelled due to Covid, the RHS’s Virtual Chelsea 2020 made up for it in fine style with an online event that provided premium access to RHS members, but which anyone anywhere could enjoy.

This year the show returns for real in a new, first-time Autumn slot – 21 to 26 September 2021 – but after the success of Virtual Chelsea in May 2020, why not do it again for 2021? Two Chelseas in one year? You’re spoiling us.

Virtual Chelsea is a series of online articles and videos featuring gardening demos, garden tours and creative inspiration all free to access on the RHS website, with new content released daily. And with the event set to go live on Monday 17 May (lasting until Friday 21 May) here’s our preview of what you can enjoy next week.

Of course, Gardens will be covering all the action and if you sign up for our Chelsea newsletter here you’ll not only not miss a thing through Virtual Chelsea, but you’ll be on our list for our expert coverage come Chelsea proper in September.

Grab your computer, put your feet up and enjoy a week of gardening greatness. It all starts Monday.

What's happening at Virtual Chelsea 2021?

Here's what's coming up at RHS Virtual Chelsea 2021:

There’ll be the first glimpses of what the new-look Autumn show will contain (watch out for the GI experts predictions and hopes coming in a feature later next week) with the RHS plans being revealed daily as part of the show.

We’re promised ‘a feature with a Royal connection’ (?) along with news from some of the award winning garden designers taking part in this year’s RHS Chelsea, including – confirmed for the first time – Charlotte Harris, Sarah Eberle, Robert Myers and Tom Massey as they prepare and adjust their designs and planting plans for the move from May to the all-new autumn show.

We’ll meet the specialist growers who will be bringing their late seasonal plants to the Great Pavilion for the first time and details of the new Houseplant Studios will be revealed…

Next up there’s a host of famous faces, both from the worlds of horticulture and broader entertainment appearing on video to share their passion for plants.

Jo Whiley will show us around her beautiful garden in Northamptonshire while DJ Trevor Nelson will be catching up with award winning RHS Chelsea designer Matthew Wilson who designed his show-worthy garden in North London over three years ago.

BBC news correspondents including Daniela Relph and Sangita Myska give a glimpse into their gardens, while celebrity florist Simon Lycett and presenter Nicki Chapman reminisce about their RHS Chelsea memories while creating fabulous floral displays.

BBC Gardeners’ World presenter Arit Anderson will be in conversation with designer Marian Boswall discussing sustainable garden design, and the RHS will also revisit the garden at the Highgate Mental Health Centre part of Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust to find out how the staff and patients have benefited since receiving the RHS Feel Good Garden from RHS Chelsea in 2018.

As ever, the Great Pavilion is the jewel in the crown of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, bursting with some of the world’s best nurseries and growers. Growers unable to exhibit in September will instead be at the Virtual Show offering tips and advice on how to grow this spring.

Virtual visitors will be able to shop the show and stock up on seasonal plants and gardening goods online from the specialist nurseries and exhibitors who would usually be at the show as well as purchase an RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021 souvenir.

We can’t wait to reveal some of the exciting content we have planned for the autumn show as part of the RHS Virtual Chelsea Flower Show next week.
Sue Biggs, Director General of the Royal Horticultural Society

Sue Biggs, Director General of the Royal Horticultural Society says: “Following the postponement of this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the huge success of last year’s online event we want to help galvanise the nation to continue to grow plants and to keep the millions of new gardeners growing this spring by bringing new garden design, plant inspiration and horticultural knowledge into the homes of millions of people around the world once again. we can’t wait to reveal some of the exciting content we have planned for the autumn show as part of the RHS Virtual Chelsea Flower Show next week.”

The virtual show kicks off exclusively for RHS members on Monday 17 May (have your membership number ready…) but the content from members day will be added daily to the site and will remain live all week for everyone to enjoy.

Head to from the 17th (members only…) and keep your eyes on for all the updates on what’s revealed.


Here's to a great show!


Daniel GriffithsDigital Editor

Daniel Griffiths is a veteran journalist who has worked on some of the biggest home and entertainment brands in the world. He is a serial house-renovator and home improvement expert, taking on everything from interior design and DIY to landscape gardening and garden design.


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