The sun's out, but Britons would rather head for their gardens than the beach

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The Independent Online

The Chelsea Flower Show drew to a close last night with its traditional final hour sell-off. Visitors eager to buy a piece of Chelsea to install in their own garden were given the chance to pick up many of the plants and trees that have been on display all week.

The Chelsea Flower Show drew to a close last night with its traditional final hour sell-off. Visitors eager to buy a piece of Chelsea to install in their own garden were given the chance to pick up many of the plants and trees that have been on display all week.

It was the first time that the Chelsea Flower Show, the most important date in the horticultural calendar, had been open on a Saturday. This year's show was the 83rd to be held at the Royal Hospital beside the river Thames.

Gardening trends that emerged from the show reflected the rise of healthy eating, with vegetable patches and fruit trees to the fore. Glass and mirrors were also more prominent than in recent years and, for the first time, there were two outdoor art galleries.

The BBC carried daily live programmes from Chelsea, but the first day's coverage of the show was disrupted by last week's BBC strike.

Weather for the start of the Bank Holiday weekend failed to match the heat of Friday, when the temperature had soared to 31.8C in London, the hottest in May for 50 years. Temperatures dropped by about 10 degrees and are expected to stay that way for the remainder of the long weekend.

The traditional Bank Holiday traffic chaos failed to materialise as many people decided to stay at home. About 18 million people were expected to head to the beach or other tourist spots but no serious problems on the roads were reported.

According to a poll, Britons may have decided to shun the beaches in favour of a little light horticulture. More than half of Britons planned to catch up on DIY, housework and gardening. Only one in 10 expected to visit one of the country's beaches over the long weekend; a further one in six planned to get out and about to visit a tourist attraction.

* Central London's first ever maze, in the shape of a butterfly, will open tomorrow in Queen Mary's Gardens, Regent's Park, until 30 September.

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