After the news earlier this week that Chelsea Flower Show and several other RHS shows are being cancelled due to the coronavirus, Sue Biggs, the director general of the RHS, has released an open letter to the horticultural community.

Visitors at Chelsea Flower Show
© Luke MacGregor

The letter unveils the organisation's decision to create a Virtual RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which will run from 19 May to 23 May.

Biggs thanks the people, BBC, businesses, charities and the horticultural industry in general at the support in the face of the cancellations.

The letter acknowledges the fact that now more than ever people feel that they need gardening - which supports mental and physical wellbeing - in their lives.

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The Virtual RHS Chelsea Flower Show will be a celebration of the horticultural industry and gardening heritage and will have a press day on Monday 18 May with the full show running from Tuesday 19 to Saturday 23.

It is early stages of planning and the event will not take place at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, but there are plans to look at using the RHS website and other platforms and involve growers, nurseries, designers, landscapers and tradestands too.

Biggs said: "When so many people, businesses, charities and everyone in the horticultural industry are going through such tough and challenging times, we are even more grateful for this support and people taking time to get in touch.

"Which is why I wanted to write this note and thank you all – it has meant so much to all of us who have the honour and joy of creating this world famous gardening show.


"...In the meantime, thank you again from all of us at the RHS for your support and kindness during this difficult and sad time. Stay safe and look after yourselves."


Daisy Bowie-Sell is digital editor of Gardens Illustrated. She has previously worked as a journalist for publications including the Daily Telegraph, WhatsOnStage and Time Out London