BBC newsreader Sophie Raworth will host the Chelsea Flower Show

BBC newsreader Sophie Raworth will host the Chelsea Flower Show from her own back garden as five-day event takes place virtually for the first time

  • Royal Horticultural Society show cancelled for first time since World War Two
  • News reader Sophie Raworth, 51, is one of the show’s many presenters
  • Gardeners’ World presenter Joe Swift, 54, will also present from his back garden
  • Every day, a different leading gardener will show off their own private gardens 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

BBC presenters will host this year’s Chelsea Flower Show from their back gardens as the annual event is held virtually due to coronavirus restrictions.

The five-day Royal Horticultural Society show has been cancelled for the first time since the Second World War and will instead be held as a ‘virtual’ event online, which will run from May 18 to 23.

News reader Sophie Raworth, 51, is one of the show’s many presenters and will film herself in the garden of her south west London home, which she shares with her husband and three children.

BBC presenters – including Sophie Raworth (pictured) – will host this year’s Chelsea Flower Show from their back gardens as the annual event is held virtually due to coronavirus restrictions 

Gardeners’ World presenter Joe Swift, 54, will also present from home in his Hackney, east London, house

Gardeners’ World presenter Joe Swift, 54, will do the same in his Hackney, east London, house, The Mirror reports.

Every day, a different world-leading garden designer, florist or gardening personality will show off their own private gardens for the online show.

Viewers will be able to vote for the RHS People’s choice garden of the decade, plant of the decade and product of the year remotely, in stark contrast to the bustling scenes in the Royal Hospital Chelsea last year.

Viewers will be able to vote for the RHS People’s choice garden of the decade, plant of the decade and product of the year remotely, in stark contrast to the bustling scenes in the Royal Hospital Chelsea last year (pictured)

Shows including Countryfile and Gardeners’ World have continued during the nation-wide lockdown by encouraging relatives to film before installing fixed-camera equipment in people’s home.

The Chelsea Flower Show will be held virtually for the first time… but how will it work?

The annual five-day Chelsea Flower Show has been cancelled for the first time since the Second World War.

It will instead be held as a ‘virtual’ event online, which will run from May 18 to 23.

The BBC will be covering the event on BBC1 and BBC2 and the Royal Horticultural Society will have free content on it’s website.

BBC coverage will start on May 19.

Gardeners’ World presenter Joe Swift, 54, will be joined by garden writer and broadcaster Monty Don.

Other presenters will also appear from their own gardens.

News reader Sophie Raworth, 51, will join Swift in speaking from their own gardens while also presenting a ‘best of’ compilation from the previous show.

Also on the agenda are ‘interactive lunchtime Q&A sessions with RHS Advisors and special guests’, the RHS website reads.

Participants will also get behind-the-scenes tours of nurseries and the opportunity to vote for the best plants, products and gardens.

There is also a daily School Gardening Club for families.

Every day, a different world-leading garden designer, florist or gardening personality will show off their own private gardens.

Gardeners across the UK are encouraged to send in pictures of their green spaces – be it a balcony or back garden – for judgement.

Entries must also include a description about how gardening has benefited them during lockdown. 

Viewers will also be able to vote for the RHS People’s Choice Garden of the Decade, plant of the decade and product of the year.

It was this technique that inspired the Chelsea Flower Show organisers.  

Factual commissioner Catherine Catton said: ‘We’re using the techniques we’ve learned on Gardeners’ World, so we’re doing families.

‘They’re presenting from their gardens and we either split-screen or you alternate between them. It works really nicely.

‘It’s fun and it’s nice being in their gardens and having a nose around.’ 

Gardening has fast become one of Britain’s favourite lockdown hobbies.

One element of the Chelsea Flower show this year is a competition in which members of the public can submit pictures of their gardens. 

They must also include a short explanation about how gardening has benefited them during the coronavirus crisis.

Sue Biggs, RHS Director General, said: ‘Plants, gardening, and the natural world has never been so important to us. 

‘At the RHS we are acutely aware of the benefits that gardening and nurturing plants can have on our mental health and wellbeing. 

‘This competition is a great way to encourage people to garden and grow and also reward some tremendous efforts and amazing indoor and outdoor gardens across the UK.’

Some 83 per cent of homes in England have some private outdoor space, according to 2016 government figures, providing a haven for a nation stuck indoors.

But while online retailers have been inundated with orders from the UK’s estimated 23 million gardeners, bricks-and-mortar garden centres have faced a torrid time.

About 650 UK businesses produce ornamental plants, contributing £1.4 billion ($1.75 billion) to the economy and employing 15,000 people directly, according to the Horticultural Trades Association.

An HTA report at the end of April warned that one in three businesses feared they would likely be insolvent this year, with the association calling for more government help. 


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One element of the Chelsea Flower show this year is a competition in which members of the public can submit pictures of their gardens (stock image)

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