Page last updated at 13:43 GMT, Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Fewer sponsors back flower show

Garden dedicated to Beatles bassist George Harrison at the 2008 Chelsea Flower Show
More than 600 exhibitors took part in the 2008 Chelsea Flower Show

The number of Chelsea Flower Show sponsors has fallen from 22 last year to 13, organisers have said.

An average of 19 firms sponsor show gardens each year at the May event, with a record 22 show gardens in 2008.

There will be a total of 40 gardens overall this year, including smaller gardens, three fewer than in 2008, the Royal Horticultural Society said.

Despite the drop in the number of sponsors it said tickets for the west London event were "selling well".

'Vibrant colours'

The annual show, which begins on 19 May, is a cross between a trade fair, horticultural competition and showbiz event.

Show manager Alex Baulkwill said: "For many, the Great Pavilion is what Chelsea is all about and 2009 won't disappoint with old favourites, first-time exhibitors and specialist nurseries creating some 110 floral displays to fill the centrepiece of the show with the sights, smells and vibrant colours that it is renowned for."

This year's exhibitors include Laurent-Perrier, the Eden Project and Cancer Research.

Some of the creations last year included a seaside garden, a garden with a crazy golf course and one with features made entirely of recycled materials.

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