Blenheim Palace plans summer flower show despite pandemic

A POPULAR Oxfordshire attraction plans to hold its annual flower show this summer, despite the cancellation of big events across the country due to the pandemic. Blenheim Palace has announced plans to celebrate all things horticultural from June 25 to 27. The stately home hopes to host a a ‘riot of colour, fragrance and weird and wonderful plants’ in its 20,000 sq ft Grand Floral Pavilion which forms the centrepiece of the flower show.

It will feature nurseries and growers giving expert advice and gardening ideas and visitors can enjoy ‘Garden Talks’ with experts and enthusiasts. Food and drink as well as more than 300 exhibitors, an outdoor ‘Plant Village’ and live entertainment will also be on offer throughout the weekend. Organisers are planning to proceed with the three-day event despite the nation’s biggest festival, Glastonbury, being called off for a second year.

It had been hoped that the celebration of music and arts – which was set to feature Oxford band Supergrass – would be able to go ahead this June. Cornbury Festival, in Great Tew, near Chipping Norton, and Truck Festival, in Steventon, are also cautiously making preparations. Cropredy Festival is also planning to take place from August 12 to 14 and received GBP200,000 in emergency aid in October to help it survive.

The Chelsea Flower Show, which is usually held in May, has been pushed back this year to September in the hope that it will still go ahead. Blenheim Palace says it hopes to run its flower show this year as normal, but this will depend on what coronavirus restrictions are in place at the time. A spokesperson said: “We very much hope our revised events programme for 2021 will be able to go ahead as planned.

However this will, of course, be subject to government guidelines. “Any events that do take place will fully adhere to any social distancing precautions and guidelines in operation at the time. We have also put in place a series of alternative dates as necessary.”

The flower show will have a ‘Floral Street’ where visitors can discover their favourite plants, flowers and an array of gardening goodies from unique garden gazebos, greenhouses and arbours to beautiful flowers, gardening sundries and hundreds of other products. Its Home and Country Living Pavilion will have a selection of original and handmade giftware, jewellery and luxury goods, while the Food and Drink Pavilion will offer a range of artisans and purveyors from Masons Gin and Truckle Cheese Sausages to dips and marinades. Admission to the flower show includes entry to the park and gardens so visitors can also make a day of it, exploring Blenheim Palace’s formal gardens and 2,000 acres of ‘Capability’ Brown Parkland.

Public events are currently banned as the country is in lockdown and a stay at home order remains in place.

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