10 jaw-dropping garden photos to make you feel zen

Winning images from the International Garden Photographer of the Year awards will get you back to nature…

Now in its 13th year, the International Garden Photographer of the Year awards is one of the most fiercely contested and industry respected awards image-makers can enter. Specialising in specialising in garden, plant, flower and botanical photography, the contest is run in in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London.

Attracting as many as 20,000 entries, this year’s winner was unveiled as Albert Ceolan of South Tyrol, Italy who, along with the title of International Garden Photographer of the Year, claimed the top cash prize of £7,500. Albert’s winning image, which was captured using a Nikon D4S and is entitled ‘The Vaia Storm’ was taken in the Italian Dolomites and the photographer commented on the winning shot; ‘This photograph documents the natural destruction of pine forest by storm ‘Vaia’ in late October 2018. Wind speeds peaked at over 120mph, which led to the felling of over 14 million trees and claimed 17 human lives. In the background stands the magnificent Mount Catinaccio, bearing witness to the storm at just under 3,000 metres high.’

Image by Albert Ceolan/IGPOTY

First place in the ‘Beauty Of Plants’ category went to Jacky Parker for an image entitled ‘Autumn Rudbeckia’, that was captured in Wiltshire, England using a Nikon D750 paired with a 105mm macro lens.. Jacky commented; ‘I saw this beautiful, late summer flowering Rudbeckia at the New Forest Lavender Gardens in Landford, Salisbury and knew I had to capture it – its orange colour perfectly reflected the beginning of autumn.’

Image by Jacky Parker/IGPOTY

Taking top spot in the Trees, Woods & Forests was Thorsten Scheuermann, for an image entitled ‘Swamp Elder’ that was taken using a Nikon D810 paired with a 70-200mm lens. Thorsten commented; ‘A stately Taxodium distichum (swamp cypress) tree stood at home on a calm, autumn afternoon in the wetlands surrounded by a ring of their characteristic roots or as I like to call them – knees above water.’

Image by Thorsten Scheuermann/IGPOTY

In the hotly contested Wildflower Landscapes category, the winner was named as Zhigang Li, who claimed top spot for an image entitled; ‘The Beauty of Spring’ and shows the Napahai Wetland Nature Reserve in Diqing, China. Zhigang used aCanon 5D Mark II paired with a 100-400mm lens and said; ‘It was spring when I captured this pastoral scene full of colourful wildflowers, shapes and textures.’

Image by Zhigang Li/IGPOTY

‘Sweet Bee’, captured by Jim Turner in Maryland, USA took top honours in the Wildlife In The Garden category. Jim used a Nikon D500 paired with a 105mm macro lens and said; ‘This bee was standing on the anther of a Lilium flower and the longer it stayed, the more it became clothed in the red grains of pollen. Augochlorella aurata are commonly known as sweat bees and reach up to 7mm in length. Most of these bees are attracted to the sweat from human skin (possibly seeking salt), and will sting if provoked.’

Image by Jim Turner / IGPOTY

When it came to the Greening The city category, Brandon Yoshizawa emerged victorious for an image entitled ‘Burst’. Captured using a Nikon D750 paired with a Nikon 14-24mm lens, Brandon commented; ‘The sunset gave its parting burst over Seattle illuminating the highways and making the intertwined trees and foliage glow across the city.’

Image by Brandon Yoshizawa / IGPOTY

Taking top spot in the Beautiful Gardens category was this calming frame from Jacky Parker entitled ‘Summer Reverie’ and captured using a Nikon D750 and 105mm macro lens. Jacky commented; ‘Echinacea ‘Salsa Red’ were the brilliant red stars of this beautiful summer palette of colours taken at the gardens of the New Forest Lavender Farm. I captured a double exposure to soften the grasses and create an evocative botanical daydream.’

Image by Jacky Parker / IGPOTY

First place in the Abstract category went to Maggie Lambert, who captured this image entitled ‘Fish Pond Fantasy’, captured on a Fujifilm X-30 paired with a 28-112mm lens. Maggie commented; ‘Scarborough Art Gallery was reflected in the garden’s fish pond, which created an intriguing mix of hard and fluid surfaces and various textures, overlaid by the shapes of pondweed and fishes.  I converted the image to negative colour to further enhance the dreamlike nature of the image.’

Image by Maggie Lambert / IGPOTY

Thorsten Scheuermann was named First Place in the Breathing Spaces category for this stunning frame entitled ‘Larch Basin Dawn’, which was captured in North Cascades National Park, Washington, United States using a Nikon D810. Thorsten commented; ‘The light of dawn on the horizon was enough to make the burnt autumn colour of the Larix (larch) trees in the North Cascades Mountains glow.’

Image by Thorsten Scheuermann / IGPOTY

Commended in the Beautiful Gardens category was this colourful frame from Vincenzo Di Nuzzo entitled ‘Blue Rain’ and captured using a Canon 5D Mark III paired with a 24-105mm lens. Vincenzo commented; ‘There are some things in life that can be passed by. There are others for which it is necessary to capture the moment knowing that we are experiencing something unique and unforgettable. This is how I felt walking through the Wisteria pergola at Hermannshof Garden in springtime.’

Image by Vincenzo Di Nuzzo / IGPOTY