For gardeners, the Chelsea Flower Show is a highlight of the year – and in 2021, they will have two chances to marvel at cutting edge garden design and discover a host of new plants.  

For the first time in the show’s 108-year history, the RHS has decided to postpone Chelsea until September, when it will run for six days instead of the usual five to allow fewer people to attend each day as a social distancing precaution.   

For the second year running, there will also be an online show, with the Virtual Chelsea Flower Show taking place between May 18 and 23. 

With so many of us turning to our gardens and outside spaces for solace during the pandemic, this year’s show will highlight the positive impact plants have on our health and wellbeing in a new RHS Chelsea category, Sanctuary Gardens.  

From stress-relieving herbs to flowers with a low pollen count, choosing the right plants for your garden will boost both your physical and mental health. 


Low-allergy plants 

If you suffer from hayfever, you’ll want to minimise the pollen count in your garden as much as possible. For beautiful flowers with a pretty scent and a low pollen count, consider sweet peas, peonies, clematis and foxgloves. For shrubs, look at hostas, hydrangeas and daphnes; and choose female trees, which drop berries and seeds but don’t produce pollen. 


Lavender is well-known for reducing stress, increasing relaxation and improving the mood, and should be planted around seating areas to make the most of its beautiful fragrance. Rosemary is a great cooking herb and is also proven to enhance alertness, while peppermint and valerian used to make refreshing teas will respectively help your digestion and aid sleep. 


Wildlife wonders 

Include plenty of plants that attract bees and butterflies – a border buzzing with activity is lovely to look at and listen to. Choose herbs like mint, thyme, marjoram and oregano, and plant drifts of pink and purple flowers like buddleia, lilac, lavender and sedum. 

Peace and quiet 

Fences covered in pretty, fragrant climbers will give you a feeling of a safe, enclosed space, while hedges and trees not only create privacy but will also trap noise and pollution. If you’ve managed to block out heavy noise with carefully considered planting, introduce more soothing sounds, like rustling bamboo and tall grasses, or running water with a fountain or water feature.  

A place to sit 

Whether it’s a summer house, a bench, a hammock or a beanbag, make sure you have somewhere you can sit and drink in all that nature has to offer. Surround your seating with fragrant plants and, on a balcony or in a yard, fill as many pots as you can with scented flowers and herbs.