Page last updated at 17:07 GMT, Monday, 19 May 2008 18:07 UK

In Pictures: Chelsea Flower Show

A 'flower board' advertising the Chelsea Flower Show

The gardening event of the year, the Chelsea Flower Show, opens to the public on Tuesday. Here a "flowertising board" in Hackney, east London, celebrates the Children's Society garden at the event.

Gardeners at work at the Chelsea Flower Show

About 600 designers have put months of back-breaking work into their designs, which will be on show to some 157,000 visitors.

Arabella Lennox-Boyd's Japanese-inspired garden for the Daily Telegraph

Previews of the show suggest it will be dominated by water features. One example was the large pond with sweeping walkway in Arabella Lennox-Boyd's Japanese-inspired garden for the Daily Telegraph.

Man adding finishing touches to Chelsea Flower Show design

Designer Tony Smith also employed a water feature, but to radically different effect. Here he lays petals on his design entitled "More Questions than Answers", which he says questions the war in Iraq.

Woman drying flowers with hairdryers at Chelsea Flower Show

Others, however, are more concerned with keeping their flowers dry. An exhibitor uses hairdryers to blow warm air on to her Irises in preparation for the first day of the show.

Flower sculpture at the Chelsea Flower Show

Design celebrities Diarmid Gavin and Sir Terence Conran created a relaxing cafe garden complete with mesh flower sculptures.

Show garden 'Real Life by Brett', designed by Geoff Whiten

And Geoff Whiten, with his show garden Real Life by Brett, built a traditional-looking garden that seemed not to have sprung up over a few days, but to have been bedded in for years.

Gardeners at work on a palm tree at the Chelsea Flower Show

As the gardeners worked to finish off their designs, celebrities were given access to the show before it opened, with a visit from the Queen and other members of the Royal Family.

Judges at the Chelsea Flower Show

The judges make their decisions ahead of the opening. The awards for the various categories - including Show Gardens, Small Gardens, fruit and vegetables - will be announced at 0800 BST on Tuesday.

A donkey adopted by the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad

But for many it was not the elaborate garden designs, but a 22-year-old donkey named Emma that stole the show. She is intended as a reminder that millions share their gardens with working animals.



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