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Stars given flower show preview

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Gwyneth Paltrow pictured in the B and Q Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show

Gwyneth Paltrow pictured in the B and Q Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show

Diarmuid Gavin has designed an Irish sky garden

Diarmuid Gavin has designed an Irish sky garden

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Gwyneth Paltrow pictured in the B and Q Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show

Celebrities have had a sneak preview of this year's Chelsea Flower Show ahead of the event opening to the public on Tuesday.

Film star Gwyneth Paltrow was helping to launch B&Q's show garden, which focuses on "growing your own" food and contains the tallest structure ever at Chelsea - a glass tower block-like building complete with window boxes full of vegetables.

And TV gardener and designer Diarmuid Gavin was overseeing the demonstration 52ft 6in long hanging garden pod - the first floating garden at Chelsea - which was being raised and lowered 82ft on an enormous crane at the centre of Failte Ireland's "Irish sky garden".

Those lucky enough to enjoy the full experience of the garden, inspired by the sci-fi epic Avatar, step into a pod - named the Wonkavator - sit on a traditional garden bench and attach themselves to a harness before take-off.

Other celebrities set to attend the world famous flower show in west London include actress Barbara Windsor, novelist Sir Terry Pratchett and Dame Helen Mirren, who is launching a flower named in her honour.

And a new rose from Harkness in memory of actress Natasha Richardson, who died after a skiing accident, is being launched by her mother, Vanessa Redgrave.

The flower show sold out in record time this year, as the UK's love affair with gardening shows no sign of dimming.

But the unseasonably warm weather has presented some creators - like many gardeners across the country - with a challenge as they make their designs a reality.

After a weekend putting finishing touches on the gardens, some of which had last-minute design tweaks with changes to planting as planned blooms flowered too early, the exhibitors were being judged this morning.

The exhibits range from a modern take on a kitchen garden, a plot with the largest trees ever to be brought in to Chelsea framing a working water mill, to gardens which evoke 1940s Wales or renewable power and even a Korean entry which makes a toilet the central feature.

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