The most significant event in the gardening calendar, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is renowned the world over.
Famously visited by the Queen and a host of celebrities, the Show is held at the Royal Chelsea Hospital (home of the Chelsea Pensioners). But this year, its stunning Show Gardens, new plant launches and design ideas won't be created in the Hospital grounds - but the Royal Horticultural Society has taken the virtual show online.
This is the first time the show has been cancelled since the Second World War (since it began in 1913). However, while tickets are usually like gold dust, everyone is invited to online Chelsea Flower Show lockdown edition - and the RHS has organised several special events especially for children.
When and where
The Virtual RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs from 18 – 23 May 2020.
To find out what's happening, you'll need to visit the show website and follow #RHSChelsea on social media to keep up to date with everything going on.
Note that Monday 18 May will be Members Day - this means that there will be exclusive content for RHS members only.
Daily Gardening Club for children
Each day there will be a School Gardening Club, which should give you ideas for all kinds of activities to get families out in their gardens or outside spaces, playing, digging, growing plants and connecting with nature.
This is going to be a great opportunity to sneak a peek at the gardens of some of the world's leading garden designers, gardening celebs and florists. There will be a virtual tour each morning, where you'll be able to pick up some design ideas, learn about new planting combinations and catch up with the latest gardening trends.
There's another learning opportunity for kids, as virtual visitors take a behind-the-scenes look at some of the UK's top award-winning nurseries. Some will also be recreating the spectacular floral displays they planned to show off in the Great Pavilion. If the kids are impressed by this, they could try making their own displays using some of our Flower Art ideas.
The growers will also present daily potting bench demonstrations, where you will learn planting techniques, and get advice on keeping plants healthy.
Every visitor to the virtual show can cast their vote on the RHS Chelsea Plant of the Decade and the RHS Chelsea Product of the Year
Look out for a series of special programmes celebrating the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The World’s Greatest Flower Show will be shown throughout show week on BBC One and Two.
Get the kids involved
Have your kids been enjoying gardening since lockdown? We know lots of families have been outside more - thanks to the lovely weather - and that sales of compost and plants and seeds have increased.
The RHS has launched a competition called My Chelsea Garden. You can enter photos in categories including kids' corner garden, back garden, and front garden. And they haven't left out people who aren't lucky enough to have a garden - there's a category for indoors gardens including window sills and balconies.
The competition, held in conjunction with BBC's The One Show, will be judged by Gardeners' World stalwart Monty Don and The One Show presenter Alex Jones.
Up for grabs in each category are four tickets for RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021 and a special RHS Award commending their garden. Enter the competition. Closing date is midnight on May 18.
More Show Gardening ideas for the kids
Exhibitors at RHS Chelsea Flower Show are judged in the hope of winning the coveted Gold Medal. You can also win a Silver-Gilt, Silver or Bronze Medal - still highly prized! Create some medal cards (take a look here to see what they look like).
Then, hold your own flower show at home. Gather lots of natural materials from your garden or on your daily walk - think grass, leaves, twigs, daisies etc. (do not pick wildflowers, it is an offence). Add in some other materials such as fake flowers, glass or foil to recreate water, stones, glass pebbles etc. Challenge the kids to create their own Chelsea Flower Show Garden using the materials they have. For older kids, you could suggest a theme, such as eco-friendly or futuristic. If you have more room, and more plants available, you could allocate everyone a patch in the garden to do the same.
Or how about holding a sunflower competition? You can sow sunflower seeds throughout May. They are easy to get growing. Get everyone to grow a seed - either in a pot filled with compost or in a garden border - and look after it. Set a date around September, for entries to be in. The aim is to grow your sunflower taller than anyone else's - and you'll also get some fun photos of the kids standing next to their giant plants! Encourage friends to join in online too. Kids might like to share their progress online - or they might want to keep it a secret until judging day!
The RHS Campaign for School Gardening had planned on holding a design competition for children called Children's Chelsea. Unfortunately, the coronavirus has put a stop to that. But how about challenging your children to create a design anyway? The design should be for a 1mx1m garden. They can use crayons, paints or chalks to design the garden. If you have room and the right materials, they might be able to create it in real life, too.
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things, that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
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Kidadl provides inspiration for everything from family days out to online classes, arts, crafts and science experiments. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
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