Local shows such as RHS Wisley in Surrey attracted 47,000 visitors this September (against 41,000 in 2013), while national events such as RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show brought in 142,000 visitors this year, down from 154,000 in 2013.
RHS Flower Show Tatton Park and BBC Gardeners' World Live lost numbers this year, while Malvern Spring Festival reinvented itself as a food/gardening crossover event, dropping gardening from its title.
Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants owner Rosy Hardy said smaller shows such as Wisley are great as long as their organisers "don't try and expand them too much".
She pointed out that not many new nursery exhibitors are joining the circuit. "It's not an area where a lot of young people are coming in," she said. "Our son's not - he's gone to work in the City."