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Winning photos of great gardens

Published
image copyrightLee Acaster

This late autumn photo - from Snowdonia National Park in North Wales - has been crowned the overall winner of the 10th annual International Garden Photographer of the Year competition.

Taken by Lee Acaster, and entitled Left, this stark image won the Trees, Woods and Forests category - and then beat thousands of other entries to win the top spot.

Garden designer Chris Beardshaw - one of the competition judges - says the photo "perfectly encapsulates both the extremes of fortune and personality of these giants".

While Clare Foggett - who edits The English Garden Magazine - says the image "draws the viewer in, to reveal the still surface of the lake behind. It demands closer inspection".

Scroll down to see a selection of some of the best images from each category.

Nigel McCall - 1st Place

Autumn Evening at Aberglasney

Aberglasney Gardens, Carmarthenshire, Wales, UK

image copyrightNigel McCall

Judges' comments

Philip Smith, founder of International Garden Photographer of the Year:

"This is a classical composition with the bridge leading us into the garden and its wonderful display of October colour. The angle of view is very precisely aligned, creating the feeling of serene calm."

Clare Foggett, Editor of the English Garden Magazine:

"It has a calm, almost Eastern zen-like quality. The autumn leaves on the handrail could have been artfully placed there by a stylist, but the fact that they had been spontaneously placed there by children visiting the garden earlier seems to add even more serendipity to the image."

Cathy Cooper - Finalist

Marigold Glow

Windamere Hotel, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India

image copyrightCathy Cooper

Volker Michael - Finalist

First Rays

Jistrum, Friesland, The Netherlands

image copyrightVolker Michael

Rosanna Castrini - Highly Commended

Towards the Clearing

Botanical Garden of Villa Bricherasio, Piedmont, Italy

image copyrightRosanna Castrini

Jason Ingram - Commended

Folly Farm Lavender

Berkshire, England, UK

image copyrightJason Ingram

Jason Ingram - Highly Commended

Stavordale Priory in Winter

Somerset, England, UK

image copyrightJason Ingram

Nigel McCall - Highly Commended

Mist over the Lower Walled Garden

Aberglasney Gardens, Carmarthenshire, Wales, UK

image copyrightNigel McCall

Volker Michael - Commended

Prairie Plantation

Weinheim, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany

image copyrightVolker Michael

Ross Hoddinott - 1st Place

Marbled White Butterfly

Dunsdon National Nature Reserve, Devon, England, UK

image copyrightRoss Hoddinott

Judges' comments

Philip Smith, founder of the International Garden Photographer of the Year:

"A dreamy midsummer scene. It is an unusual composition with the main subject near the picture's edge, but this, taken together with the empty space in the middle of the frame, heightens the faint sense of unreality that marks this photograph out."

Chris Beardshaw, garden designer:

"A fleeting and delicate image that encourages a holding of the breath and calm silence, for fear of disturbing the perfection."

Henrik Spranz - 2nd Place

Evening Encounter

Vienna, Austria

image copyrightHenrik Spranz

Minghui Yuan - Finalist

Frog Prince

Wuhan Botanical Garden, Wuhan City, China

image copyrightMinghui Yuan

Lili Gao - Finalist

Waiting

Dandong City, Liaoning Province, China

image copyrightLili Gao

Julian Rad - Finalist

Thirsty Squirrel

Vienna, Austria

image copyrightJulian Rad

Minghui Yuan - Commended

Band of Brothers

Wuhan City, China

image copyrightMinghui Yuan

Yi Fan - Highly Commended

Fantastic Homeland

Yunnan Province, China

image copyrightYi Fan

Mateusz Piesiak - Commended

At Sunset

Wrocław, Lower Silesia, Poland

image copyrightMateusz Piesiak

Gianluca Benini - 1st Place

White Stars at Sunset

Belluno, Veneto, Italy

image copyrightGianluca Benini

Judges' comments

Clare Foggett, Editor of The English Garden Magazine:

"Wordsworth was right about daffodils filling the heart with pleasure and this photo of 'the stars that shine and twinkle on the Milky Way' does just that, with beautiful light from the setting sun. One look at the image and you want to be there."

Susan Brown, Royal Photographic Society Representative:

"White Stars at Sunset is a descriptive title for this field of wild Narcissus with the beautifully backlit sta- shaped flowers. The low viewpoint chosen by the photographer has encouraged the flowers to command the stage against a dramatic evening sky."

Yi Fan - 2nd Place

Standing Alone

Hengduan Mountain Range, Yunnan Province, China

image copyrightYi Fan

Salvo Orlando - 3rd Place

Saponaria

Etna National Park, Sicily, Italy

image copyrightSalvo Orlando

Carole Drake - Finalist

Pavement Flowers at Dawn

County Clare, Republic of Ireland

image copyrightCarole Drake

John Glover - Highly Commended

Viper's Bugloss at Sunrise

Cuckmere Valley, East Sussex, England, UK

image copyrightJohn Glover

Marcio Cabral - Highly Commended

Golden Grass

Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park, Goias, Brazil

image copyrightMarcio Cabral

Dianne English - 1st Place

Bergenia

New South Wales, Australia

image copyrightDianne English

Judges' comments

Philip Smith, founder of International Garden Photographer of the Year:

"Texture and softening effects have been created in post-capture processing, but the strength of the image is in its very simple but accurate composition. In simplifying the still-life, the photographer has created a strong sense of romantic elegance."

Susan Brown, Royal Photographic Society Representative:

"This charming image of Bergenia not only illustrates the character of the flower, but the added texture and softness to the palette gives it an artistic painterly feel."

Alexis Javier Acosta Simon - 3rd Place

Las Animas

La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain

image copyrightAlexis Javier Acosta Simon

Bert Shankman - Finalist

Little Boy II

Montgomery County, Maryland, USA

image copyrightBert Shankman

Rosanna Castrini - Commended

The Ring

Piedmont, Italy

image copyrightRosanna Castrini

Angela de Groot - Finalist

Bothering Buttercups

Dorset, England, UK

image copyrightAngela de Groot

Nigel Burkitt - Commended

Poppies

Earley, Berkshire, England, UK

image copyrightNigel Burkitt

Anil Sud - 1st Place

Mountain Fog

Maroon Bells Scenic Area, Colorado, USA

image copyrightAnil Sud

Judges' comments

Susan Brown, Royal Photographic Society Representative:

"No-one could fault this image for not being true to its subject 'Breathing Spaces'. The glimpse of the mountainside in the break in the clouds has been very well caught and contrasts with the vibrant autumn colours of the foreground. A strong composition with the diagonal of the hillside."

Chris Beardshaw, garden designer:

"Bold, vivid and beautifully capturing the seasonal landscape."

Mauro Tronto - 2nd Place

All Together

Lago di Campotosto, Abruzzo, Italy

image copyrightMauro Tronto

Nikki Munro - Finalist

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK

image copyrightNikki Munro

Theam Meng Sea - Highly Commended

Tea Farm Sunset

Cameron Highlands District, Pahang, Malaysia

image copyrightTheam Meng Sea

Mauro Tronto - Highly Commended

Awakening

San Severino Marche, Macerata, Italy

image copyrightMauro Tronto

Stefano Coltelli - Commended

Plitvice Falls

The Plitvice Lakes National Park, Plitvicka Jezera, Croatia

image copyrightStefano Coltelli

Geoff Kell - Highly Commended

Summer Breeze

Northumberland National Park, England, UK

image copyrightGeoff Kell

Francis Taylor - Commended

Cotton Grass

Ringinglow, Peak District National Park, Sheffield, England, UK

image copyrightFrancis Taylor

Dawn Blight - Commended

Sheffield Park

National Trust Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex, England, UK

image copyrightDawn Blight

Evelyn Nodwell - 1st Place

Bringing Home the Fodder

Guizhou Province, China

image copyrightEvelyn Nodwell

Judges' comments

Susan Brown, Royal Photographic Society Representative:

"This anonymous person collecting fodder for his animals has a touch of humour about it. We have to assume he can see where he is going. The mountainous background with lovely soft, misty and low light adds a sense of place."

Philip Smith, founder of International Garden Photographer of the Year:

"This is a spontaneous shot that tells the story perfectly. The photographer has intuitively positioned the farmer in the frame in such a way that we can trudge along with him to the village we can see in the background."

Flavio Catalano - 2nd Place

Savoy Cabbage

Piedmont, Italy

image copyrightFlavio Catalano

Mingli Tian - 3rd Place

The Miao Terraces

Guizhou Province, China

image copyrightMingli Tian

Albert Ceolan - Finalist

The Grape Harvest

South Tyrol, Italy

image copyrightAlbert Ceolan

Zsolt Varanka - 1st Place

Good night Budapest

Budapest, Hungary

image copyrightZsolt Varanka

Judges' comments

Philip Smith, founder of International Garden Photographer of the Year:

"A clever shot. The flowers are beautifully lit and balanced with the lights of the city. There is so much activity to be seen in the background, but the photographer has succeeded in keeping the flowers in the foreground of our attention."

Susan Brown, Royal Photographic Society Representative:

"The shallow depth of field has rendered the lights of a city purely as a glow which leaves the interpretation to the viewer."

Dina Vieira - 2nd Place

Roof Garden

Park of Nations, Lisbon, Portugal

image copyrightDina Vieira

Evelyn Nodwell - Finalist

Trees, Shadows and Greens

Parc du Champ-de-Mars, Paris, France

image copyrightEvelyn Nodwell

Brandon Yoshizawa - Commended

City Flowers

Los Angeles, California, USA

image copyrightBrandon Yoshizawa

Paul Brouns - Highly Commended

Urban Jungle

Milan, Italy

image copyrightPaul Brouns

Joseph Meng Huat Goh - Commended

Roof Garden

Singapore

image copyrightJoseph Meng Huat Goh

Claire Takacs - Commended

Groningen City Garden

Groningen, The Netherlands

image copyrightClaire Takacs

Bart Heirweg - 2nd Place

Noir Flohay

Noir Flohay, Baraque Michel, Belgium

image copyrightBart Heirweg

Cristiana Damiano - Finalist

In the Silence

Tarvisio Forest, Italy

image copyrightCristiana Damiano

Dylan Nardini - Highly Commended

Crooked

Clydesdale, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, UK

image copyrightDylan Nardini

Andrew George - Commended

Mystic Forest

Stiphoutse Bossen, Gerwen, Noord-Brabant, The Netherlands

image copyrightAndrew George

Jianjun Huang - Commended

Charming Dongjiang

Guangdong Province, China

image copyrightJianjun Huang

Fergus Brown - age 10 - 1st Place

Kaleidoscope

Abbey Garden, Tresco, The Isles of Scilly, England, UK

image copyrightFergus Brown

Judges' comments

Susan Brown, Royal Photographic Society Representative:

"A blaze of colour brings out the true feel of summer. The shallow depth of field adds to the intrigue of the image. An accomplished image for this young photographer."

Philip Smith, founder of International Garden Photographer of the Year:

"A wonderfully exuberant image. The photographer has captured the scene very well by excluding anything that might interfere with the appreciation of colour and pattern."

Zozi Lencz - age 14 - 2nd Place

Spiky

Bellini Garden, Catania, Sicily, Italy

image copyrightZozi Lencz

Katy Read - age 12 - 3rd Place

Looking Up

Chillingham Castle, Northumberland, England, UK

image copyrightKaty Read

Steve Lowry - 1st Place

Cut Flowers

Portstewart, Northern Ireland, UK

image copyrightSteve Lowry

This portfolio of microscopy images was entered as a set in the Beauty of Plants category and features sectioned and stained flower buds.

A selection of the images - including some close-up details - can be seen here.

image copyrightSteve Lowry

Judges' comments

Clare Foggett, Editor of The English Garden Magazine:

"The images are stunning - a rarely seen glimpse of the mechanics and 'insides' of a plant, normally only seen by botanists peering down microscopes. Their other-worldly quality brings a new level of intrigue to our garden plants."

Susan Brown, Royal Photographic Society Representative:

"Well executed and inspirational in design. A very unusual way to portray these flowers, the clarity and design are stunning and a lot of worthwhile hard work has gone into this portfolio."

image copyrightSteve Lowry

George Pantazis - 1st Place

Embryo

Mouttagiaka, Limassol, Cyprus

image copyrightGeorge Pantazis

Judges' comments

Philip Smith, founder of International Garden Photographer of the Year:

"One of the most attractive macro images in this year's competition. The light falling on this tiny subject is wonderfully handled and reveals the other-worldly elegance of the subject."

Susan Brown, Royal Photographic Society Representative:

"A captivating image, glorious colours and the composition cannot be faulted. The depth of Field is perfect. The detail is beautiful and this is a very worthy winner of the macro category."

Don Rice - 1st Place

Water Lily

Lake Peten Itza, Department of Peten, Guatemala

image copyrightDon Rice

Judges' comments

Susan Brown, Royal Photographic Society Representative:

"A dramatic composition for this monochrome image with lighting to bring out the detail and texture in the leaves and yet maintaining the subtlety of the petals."

Philip Smith, founder of International Garden Photographer of the Year:

"A complex plant stripped down to its essentials of tone, form and texture. It is skilfully processed with a large amount of detail in a complex gradation of grey tones. There's a calm stillness that makes it a worthy winner."

The winning photos are being exhibited at the Royal Botanic Gardens, at Kew in London, from 4 February to 12 March 2017.

All images subject to copyright.

Related Topics

  • Kew Gardens
  • Photography