Chelsea will weather downturn

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show will host a full complement of 20 show gardens in 2009, despite nervousness about sponsors pulling out because of the financial downturn.

Designer Christopher Bradley-Hole won't be at the show after sponsor Spink Property withdrew. Marshalls has withdrawn from its annual sponsorship of the great pavilion's lecture theatre, which has been scrapped after two years. And Hillier is not bothering to look for a sponsor for its Chelsea magazine.

Head of shows development Bob Sweet said: "We're confident that the same number (of gardens as usual) will be fully funded and built at the show. Financial pressures on some sponsors means that some designers have had to adapt their plans and some sponsorship agreements have become more complex, with more partners and contributors than in previous years."

Laurent Perrier will sponsor Luciano Guibbilei, Sarah Eberle will design for M&S, Jekka McVicar and Cleve West will design a garden for Neal's Yard, and Ian Dexter will design for Marshalls.


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