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Royal Horticultural Society announces go-ahead for summer flower shows

Events at Hampton Court and Tatton Park will take place in July, making them among the first major outdoor events to return, the RHS says

Flower shows will go ahead in July at Hampton Court and Tatton Park, making them among the first major outdoor events to return this summer, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has said.

The horticultural charity has already shifted its world famous Chelsea Flower Show, in London, from May to the autumn for the first time in the event’s history, because of the ongoing restrictions of the pandemic.

Now it has announced the summer shows at Hampton Court, Surrey, and Tatton Park, Cheshire, will go ahead at their normal time.

The charity’s Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival will take place on July 5-11, two weeks after it is hoped all coronavirus restrictions will have been lifted, and RHS Flower Show Tatton Park will take place on July 21-25.

But the RHS said it was continuing to plan for different scenarios to ensure the events could go ahead safely in the large outdoor spaces where the events are held, with social distancing measures if still necessary.

It is hoping the shows will tap into the increase in interest in horticulture in 2020, which saw it handling a record number of gardening inquiries from locked-down Britons.

The events will shine a light on environmental challenges, showcase innovative gardens and host stalls selling plants, tools and other garden accessories.

Helena Pettit, RHS director of gardens and shows, said: “After months of planning and uncertainty we can’t wait to return to what we do best, putting on our famous RHS flower shows for all to enjoy.

The Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to her Back to Nature Garden at Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival

The Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to her Back to Nature Garden at Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival

“We have seen a huge increase in people taking up gardening and growing in the last year and so in being able to return to Hampton Court Palace and Tatton Park this summer, we hope to bring inspiration and advice for all gardeners and plant lovers as well as a much-needed celebration of summer.”

She added: “Bringing the horticultural world together again will be significant for the industry and we are continuing to plan for different scenarios to ensure we can open our gates safely and implement social distancing measures if still necessary.

“We are lucky that both Hampton Court Palace and Tatton Park are large outdoor spaces that can be enjoyed safely by visitors and we can’t wait to welcome everyone back this summer.”

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