Leeds and Birmingham City Councils have beaten the rocky economic climate by attracting sponsors so they can mount displays at RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
In its eighth Chelsea display Leeds continues its traditional style of representing the city's industrial heritage. The Hesco Bastion-sponsored garden, the last in its three-year deal, sees a mill house in a semi-natural setting in a design that focuses on the role of water power in industrial evolution.
The council's horticulture adviser Martin Walker said: "Taking part in Chelsea not only promotes Leeds on a global platform but boosts staff skills. This challenging project benefits their work in Leeds in terms of attention to detail, time management and organisation."
Meanwhile, Birmingham City Council will once again use its plot to highlight a global issue. In 2010 it supported charity Help for Heroes and this year the Plight of the Gorillas garden is inspired by declining primate numbers in the central African country of Rwanda.
The council's parks development manager Mike Hinton said attracting sponsorship was tough. "Money is tight but the gorillas are a popular cause so people really wanted to get involved." Support from Akamba, Amberol, Pentland Plants, Certis, Lighting for Gardens and Midland Aquatics covered all of the garden's costs.
THUJAS STAND TALL
Majestic Trees is supplying the tallest trees ever to feature at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
The nursery grew, delivered and installed the three 12m-tall Thuja for the garden sponsored by Hesco Bastion and designed by Leeds City Council.
The trees were paid for on a rental basis, and the two biggest will go to customers' homes after the show. At a trade price of £5,500 they are among the most expensive trees offered by Majestic.