Without doubt, the poor economic climate has had its effect on Chelsea 2009. Last year there were 21 show gardens, of which 8 got gold medals. This year there were only 13 show gardens, and only 3 got gold medals. No doubt companies have cut back on sponsorship, and if they haven't pulled out completely, they've reduced the budgets!
A couple of gardens caught my eye as being unusual. One garden in the small urban garden category wasn't a proper garden at all. Instead it's a sculpted art installation called Paradise in Plasticine, i.e. a garden made entirely from plasticine! Another unusual garden was The Quilted Velvet Garden, which was one of the main show gardens. Quilted Velvet is a brand of toilet paper in the UK. The garden's aim was to bring to life Quilted Velvet’s message of "a little bit of luxury every day", so indeed, the garden was basically a huge advert for toilet paper complete with a huge flower layout depicting a toilet seat which was filled with velvet cushions! As another sign of the times there was also a set of three "Credit crunch" gardens, one of which was called "The banker's garden", featuring a few objects from the game of monopoly.
My favourite show garden this year was the Laurent Perrier garden, which was one of the gold medal winners. It had a simplistic elegance that appealed to me. However I also liked the garden which won the award for being the best in show, which this year was The Daily Telegraph garden. As usual, although the show goes on until next Saturday, it's been completely sold out for ages. But there'll be another next year, so I'd advise any readers who want to go along to book early!