Cork City Council has described reports of a row with gardener Diarmuid Gavin over funding for his Chelsea garden as 'little more than a storm in a teacup.'

This follows a weekend newspaper report in which the award winning gardener said the council was extremely difficult to deal with when it came to funding his award-winning Chelsea garden.

Council spokesman Damien O'Mahony said it was Mr Gavin who had an expectation that was unrealistic.

Mr O'Mahony said if you expect to get paid without a contract, invoices, and access, then you will be delayed when you seek payment.

The council says that it paid as soon as it was in a position to pay.

Mr O'Mahony said he did not blame Mr Gavin for being annoyed at ‘having to jump through various accounting hoops’ to recoup the money, but said the Council is audited, and unless procedure is followed, it is doing a disservice to the taxpayer.

He said the council is very excited about getting a gold medal Chelsea winner for the city at under 20% of the cost.

The Sky garden will form a small part of a bigger new city garden planned for the city's Mardyke.

The overall project, which is in two phases, will cost under €2m - 80% of which is being funded by Fáilte Ireland.

Fáilte Ireland's Alex Connolly defended the project, saying it is a long-term project to provide the city with an iconic tourist attraction.

Mr Connolly said it will more than pay for itself and be a significant tourism generator.

It had been hoped to put the Sky garden on display in Emmet Place during the City's Midsummer Festival next month since it was at the invitation of a former festival director that Mr Gavin first approached the city with an idea for a garden.

However, for logistical, as well as health and safety reasons, this is now looking increasingly unlikely.

Mr O'Mahony said the garden is currently being dismantled to be shipped to Cork where it will be stored temporarily.

Final full plans for the new Mardyke garden are now to hand and will proceed to planning, he said.