CELEBRITY gardener Diarmuid Gavin has been accused of excluding the public in the design of his sky-high Chelsea Flower Show garden.
The centrepiece of Gavin's design is his 'Irish Sky Garden', a bright-pink flying pod containing plants that will be suspended 82ft up in the air from a huge crane.
The Irish TV gardener's much-trumpeted pod 'flights' were supposed to afford spectacular views across London for up to eight visitors a time.
But it has emerged that Chelsea's 157,000 sell-out crowd will not be allowed up to see the novelty garden when the show starts next Tuesday.
Former 'Home Front' and 'Gardeners' World' presenter Gavin admitted that pod flights would be for "journalists, invited guests and sponsors" only.
The garden is sponsored by Failte Ireland and Cork City Council and will also be showcased at Cork's mid-summer festival in June.
Gavin yesterday defended the garden design and the limited capacity of the flying pod.
"We don't want to cause a big crush," he said. "Occasionally, we may invite a member of the public.
"We wanted to see if we could make a garden that flies. TV viewers will have that experience," he said.
But the Royal Horticultural Society, which runs the show, confirmed yesterday that the paying public will not, in fact, be allowed up to see the garden.
A spokesman said: "Members of the public cannot go up in Diarmuid's pod. There are 157,000 visitors and practically, there would be big queues."
Tim Rumball, editor of 'Amateur Gardening' magazine, said: "Diarmuid Gavin's garden has nothing to do with gardening in any real sense.
"It is more like something from outer space."