Norfolk-based Howard Nurseries owner David Howard said: "We have been more advanced in other years. There is not as much sponsorship around. One or two gardens are in the pipeline. Last year we did five or six but two or three were smaller gardens. Small gardens are taking off more and more. Things will change this year because there will be more than one sponsor backing a garden. It's not all as easy as it used to be."
Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants owner Rob Hardy said last year 50 designers applied to build show gardens but just one in five found sponsorship. He added that a lack of sponsorship at shows, particularly with the withdrawal of the Daily Mail at Hampton Court, had hit income at the Hampshire nursery in 2009 but that mail order and gate sales were up. Hardy said he had potential clients for Chelsea 2010 but none yet confirmed.