Top show garden builder Mark Gregory says it is only a matter of time before a garden designer is sued by a sponsor for not winning their paymaster a gold medal.
Mark (inset), who has won gold medals at Chelsea, and is an RHS judge, said: “The power of sponsorship and media coverage is now too big to not have a brand associated with a gold medal.“It’s just a question of time before a sponsor will sue for non-performance or non-achievement of an award.
“It will happen. Horticulture is no different from anywhere else. Corporations expect you to deliver. There is pressure. You need to get the mood and soul right to win best-in-show and that’s hard to pull off.”
The RHS will review its judging procedure after the show season ends in a bid to make the process more transparent.
RHS shows development head Bob Sweet said the way the show gardens were marked would be brought up-to-date, to match developments in judging elsewhere in the show such as in the floral marquee.
“We are reviewing the whole judging programme – we’ve not had a thorough review for 10 years,” he said.
“There are more sophisticated ways of judging now compared to how we looked at things in the past. Floral marquee judging has moved a long way, and on gardens we can do more.”
Judges vote by an anonymous show of hands, with the majority deciding if a designer wins gold, silver or bronze.