Winning photos from beautiful gardens – BBC News

From bloom-loving bees and perfectly manicured lawns – to green vistas in more remote parts of the planet – the winners of the latest International Garden Photographer of the Year competition have been announced.

The images are going on show at Kew Gardens in London, and then at locations across England, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Scroll down to see some of the best images from each section – read what the judges thought – and find out which photo took the top prize.


Image: You Lookin’ at Me? (Aberdeenshire, UK)

Photographer: Nicola Munro (1st place)

Joanna Fortnum, Gardening Editor, Daily Telegraph

“For many British gardeners the robin is one of the first members of garden wildlife we ever meet, and this picture seems to encapsulate everything about that special relationship. A natural winner of the wildlife category.”

Philip Smith, Founder of International Garden Photographer of the Year

“It is a good example of ‘keep it simple’ with the shallow depth of field subduing the background. The light on the bird is wonderful and this quality makes the robin our hero.”

Image: Frozen (Zwolle, Netherlands)

Photographer: Johannes Klapwijk (finalist)

Clare Foggett, Editor, The English Garden

“Johannes Klapwijk’s ‘Frozen’ with both bloom and butterfly delicately rimed with ice crystals captures a moment in time so well, I can only imagine the incredible stroke of luck, or feat of patience, required for this photo.”

Image: Iridescent Starling (Surrey, UK)

Photographer: Hazel Byatt (finalist)

Christina Harrison, Editor, Kew Magazine

“I have a soft spot for starlings and this shows their cheeky intelligent character to a tee.

“It’s often hard to see the beautiful colours they have in their plumage, but this image has skilfully captured the iridescent feathers.”


Image: Misty Morning Magic (Harewood House, Yorkshire, UK)

Photographer: Lee Beel (3rd place)

Clare Foggett, Editor, The English Garden

“This is exactly the kind of image that makes magazine editors like me, and readers, so grateful for photographers who get up early to capture these moments so we don’t have to!”

Image: Hot Air Balloon over Trentham Gardens (Staffordshire, UK)

Photographer: Joe Wainwright (finalist)

Clare Foggett, Editor, The English Garden

“I don’t know if the hot air balloon was a happy accident or planned masterstroke, but I love the way it has drifted to the perfect position – above the path’s vanishing point.

“And how it echoes the shape of the topiary, all with perfect soft light, making the dew glisten and the golden grasses shine.”

Image copyright Marianne Majerus /

Image: Dawn on the Deck (Kent, UK)

Photographer: Marianne Majerus (Highly Commended)

Tyrone McGlinchey, Managing Director of IGPOTY

“We see the man-made structure and formality of the decking – and clipped hedges looking on to the untamed landscape of the marshes beyond.

“From a technical perspective, the control of light is superb and hiding the sun behind the foliage like this isn’t always easy to achieve.”

Image: Reflections of the Past (Golspie, Sutherland, UK)

Photographer: Nicola Munro (finalist)

Andrea Jones, Garden Photographer

“A majestic image of Dunrobin Castle reflecting in the dark water of the pool below. Beautifully symmetrical composition captured on a stunningly clear day in the Highlands of Scotland.”

Image: The Pond Gardens (Hampton Court, south-west London, UK)

Photographer: Simon Hadleigh-Sparks (finalist)

Ray Spence, Royal Photographic Society

“I love the design and simplicity of colour in this image. The cool monochromatic colour palette with the hint of warmth really works well together.

“The inclusion of the topiary in the bottom corners cleverly holds the image in and creates depth.”

Image: Magic Moment (Jardin du Bois Marquis, Isere, France)

Photographer: Rosanna Castrini (finalist)

Andrea Jones, Garden Photographer

“There is a subtle balance of colour which has caught the photographer’s eye and makes this image of a wilder garden work so well.

“The reds of the foliage in the trees and shrubs, highlighted by the light penetrating the main tree foliage, combine to give it a breathtaking quality.”

Image: Sun Shower (Ruxton, Maryland, USA)

Photographer: Roger Foley (2nd place)

Christina Harrison, Editor, Kew Magazine

“You can almost hear the rain softly pattering on the ground, but the golden light peeping through the tree promises that sunshine is not far away.”

Ray Spence, Royal Photographic Society

“A very simple scene is enhanced by the softness of light coming through the foliage of the trees. The use of a slightly slower shutter speed has captured the essence of the summer rain.”

Image: Pigeon House at Dawn (Rousham House, Oxfordshire, UK)

Photographer: Carole Drake (1st place)

Andrea Jones, Garden Photographer

“I loved the balance of the picture, the colour of the stone work reflected from wall to pigeon house, and the blossom on the tree, also mirrored on the round building.”


A special award section to showcase the work of new talent, where finalists are not placed.

Image: Giant Poppy (St Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire, UK)

Photographer: Stuart Hall

Tyrone McGlinchey, Managing Director of IGPOTY

“A fine example of macro-photography. The use of light manages to highlight the structure of the bud in great detail, inviting us to really appreciate the plant on an artistic and botanical level.”

Image: Forest and Mist (Soderasen National Park, Sweden)

Photographer: Hakan Liljenberg

Tyrone McGlinchey, Managing Director of IGPOTY

“What really makes this photograph work is the contrast between the different textured strata of trees and mist, which creates a tangible sense of intrigue and mystery.”


Image: The Queen (Friulian Dolomites Natural Park, Italy)

Photographer: Cristiana Damiano (2nd place)

Christina Harrison, Editor, Kew Magazine

“I’ve seen so many images of the lady slipper orchid, but none that bring it to life as much as this one. It’s a hard task to give a small plant such dynamism.”

Image: Yucca at Dusk (White Sands National Monument, New Mexico, USA)

Photographer: Lesley Chalmers (1st place)

Philip Smith, Founder of IGPOTY

“Lesley’s photograph breaks a lot of the composition ‘rules’ that are often talked about. The subject is way over to the right, the horizon line peters out into nothingness at the opposite edge.

“Yet for me it is precisely these elements that emphasise the bleakness of the scene, and strengthen the impact of the single plant, standing up like a punctuation mark in the landscape. The light is perfect and the gentle sky tints create a wonderful sense of calm.”

Andrea Jones, Garden Photographer

“The photographer has held held her nerve by preserving the negative space around the subject making it all the more impressive.”


Image: A Misty Sunrise in Chatsworth Park (Derbyshire, UK)

Photographer: Jude Gadd (1st place)

Clare Foggett, Editor, The English Garden

“At first glance, you almost don’t notice Chatsworth House, with the early morning mist and rising sun.

“It blends into the wooded hill behind it, putting all the attention on Brown’s landscape – a fitting tribute for the tercentenary of his birth and very cleverly composed.”


Image: Picturesque Earth (Yuanyang rice terraces, Yunnan, China)

Photographer: Xuejun Xia (1st place)

Philip Smith, Founder of IGPOTY

“This is my favourite image in this year’s collection. I love images that use photography to let the imagination off the leash.

“Human impact on the natural environment is not often to be celebrated but here Xuejun Xia shows us a quite remarkable vision.”


Image: Yosemite Falls (Yosemite National Park, California, USA)

Photographer: Adam Burton (finalist)

Christina Harrison, Editor, Kew Magazine

“What an amazingly evocative image this is, full of early morning peace. Capturing a perfect reflection of this stunning scene was a masterstroke.”

Image: Mossy (Palos Verdes, California, USA)

Photographer: Brandon Yoshizawa (2nd place)

Christina Harrison, Editor, Kew Magazine

“Seaweeds and coastal plants don’t usually get much attention – they are amazingly tough and adaptable plants and this scene shows them off in all their splendour in an absolutely magical moment by the sea.”

Image: Mountain Views (Stokksnes, Iceland)

Photographer: Richard Hurst (1st place)

Philip Smith, Founder of IGPOTY

“This photograph is beautifully composed and then very skilfully processed to make sure the viewer sees all the detail clearly.

“The selection of the foreground rock is inspired and the balance of tones between the rock and the landscape beyond is wonderfully executed.”


Image: A Night to Remember (Kiruna, Swedish Arctic)

Photographer: James Woodend (1st place)

Philip Smith, Founder of IGPOTY

“It is often said that photography is all about being in the right place at the right time. This is true but you have to have the skill and artistry to capture that moment effectively, and this is what James has done here.

“The trees and the Aurora seem to become one entity, linked together by some unknowable force.”

Ray Spence, Royal Photographic Society

“An incredible sight, wonderfully captured. The monochromatic, snow-laden trees reaching up to the sky are enhanced by the low viewpoint and converging verticals.”


Image: Red in Forest (Ta-pieh Mountains, Henan, China)

Photographer: Cheng Shi (finalist)

Andrea Jones, Garden Photographer

“The range of tones from dark to light in this picture give a three-dimensional feel to this oriental style image.

“The colour combination of vibrant pink and spring fresh green foliage works so well with the grey mists behind – giving a painterly quality.”

Image: The Wild Calla Lily Valley (Highway One, California, USA)

Photographer: Jean Li (finalist)

Tyrone McGlinchey, Managing Director of IGPOTY

“The shot is beautifully framed. One is immediately plunged into the rippling foliage of the lilies where your eyes get lost in a cascade of white flower heads.

“When you emerge from the valley floor you get drawn down towards the glimpse of ocean, only to find yourself lost again, staring at the horizon, wondering how you got there.”

Image: Tide Mills (East Sussex, UK)

Photographer: Matthew Thomas (3rd place)

Christina Harrison, Editor, Kew Magazine

“The photographer has chosen the angle for this shot so well – and having the person walking towards that vanishing point of the setting sun was the icing on the cake here.”

Image: National Park Kings (Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain)

Photographer: Senen Medina (2nd place)

Christina Harrison, Editor, Kew Magazine

“To see these rare giants [Echium wildprettii] of the plant kingdom in flower in this landscape is such a treat.

“The photographer has patiently waited to capture that moment when the sun hits the mountains and it has made all the difference.”


Image: American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial (Washington DC, USA)

Photographer: Amanda Kleinman (1st place)

Philip Smith, Founder of IGPOTY

“This is a great piece of photo-journalism in my view. Amanda chose the time of day to photograph this scene and the half-light of a summer evening adds an other-worldly quality that heightens the impact of the message this garden conveys.

“The juxtaposition of planting and shadowy figures create an atmosphere that both calms and inspires.”


Image: Full Circle (Cambridgeshire, UK)

Photographer: Mandy Disher (1st place)

Ray Spence, Royal Photographic Society

“This is a wonderfully inventive series of still life images. Beautifully composed, layered and with a very subtle colour palette.”

Clare Foggett, Editor, The English Garden

“I love Mandy Disher’s portfolio. Angie Lewin-esque, each photo is brilliantly composed and captures the inherent beauty in these plants’ seed heads and pods.

“Their muted colours are perfectly in-keeping with this phase of the plants’ life cycle.”


Image: Damsel Reflected (Red River Valley Nature Reserve, Cornwall, UK)

Photographer: Jasmine Clegg (2nd place)

Ray Spence, Royal Photographic Society

“This was a brave move to create a monochrome image of the damsel fly. Not only does it show the insect in its habitat, but it creates a simple and effective design.”

Image: The Housing Estate (Suffolk, UK)

Photographer: Will Jenkins (1st place)

Philip Smith, Founder of IGPOTY

“The photograph is deceptive. Simplicity looks simple to achieve but you have to have the vision and skill to communicate the essence of plants like these. Will has done this most successfully.”


Image: Tekapo Lupins (Lake Tekapo, South Island, New Zealand)

Photographer: Richard Bloom (overall winner)

Christina Harrison, Editor, Kew Magazine

“When I first saw this shot, it just blew me away. I’ve been to this area of New Zealand, but have never seen the lupins that grow there look so stunning.

“The way the soft light picks up the best of all the colours in this landscape makes it a very worthy winner. You just want to be there.”

Philip Smith, Founder of IGPOTY

“This is a world class subject and Richard has positioned himself so well to lead our eye into the landscape through the trickling river.

“It is a real celebration of flowers in the natural environment and a worthy overall winner.”

All images from IGPOTY 2015 are subject to copyright.

All these images and more will be on show at Kew Gardens in west London from 6 February until 13 March 2016.

They will then be shown at locations across England, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Top image: Morning visitor (Dar Ees Salaam, Tanzania) – Pei Ling Lee / (Category: New Shoots)

Capability Brown Today category images in association with The National Trust and

Related: International Garden Photographer of the Year

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