International Garden Photographer of the Year competition 2024

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Layered branches of a conifer treeImage source, June Sharpe

An abstract photograph by June Sharpe has won this year’s International Garden Photographer of the Year competition.

“The layered branches of this conifer reminded me of the dancing cranes often featured in Japanese woodcuts,” said Sharpe.

“Now, more than ever, it is vitally important to connect with nature and highlight the beauty and fragility of our planet’s ecosystems.”

In post-processing, Sharpe enhanced what she describes as a “sense of the ‘birds’ dancing in a fantasy woodland”.

Head judge Tyrone McGlinchey said: “When judging pictures we are hoping to be embraced, and taken on a journey, within a story.

“We are pulled into and beyond the symbolic dancing cranes, and embraced by their ‘wings’, to a place of hope and peace. It is rare that one can connect with nature and feel such compassion.”

Plants covered in water droplets

Image source, Annaick Guitteny

Annaick Guitteny came first in the Portfolios category for a set of six photos with the title Evanescence, each one a close-up of a plant covered in water droplets.

“I love capturing these fleeting moments early in the morning, when these ephemeral little pearls adorn plants and illuminate them,” said Guitteny.

Private Garden, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom

Image source, Annie Green-Armytage

Annie Green-Armytage’s picture of a private garden in Suffolk won the Beautiful Gardens category.

“It’s easy to grow a border which looks good in June, but fewer people are able to create such a stunning display in October,” said Green-Armytage.

“The setting sun was the ultimate gift from our majestic natural world, a moment of beauty which I was privileged to capture. For a while, I even forgot my cold-numbed fingers.”

A lone tree in Eryri

Image source, Andrea Graham

The Breathing Spaces category was won by Andrea Graham with a picture taken in Eryri National Park (Snowdonia) in north Wales, entitled The Lone Tree.

“This was a truly magical morning, we arrived to find the mist rolling across the lake (Llyn Padarn) and that we had the place to ourselves – it was almost spiritual and so incredibly peaceful,” said Graham.

“As the blue hour progressed before dawn we were blessed with these beautiful pink tones, before the sun finally rose above the mountains and kissed the famous, lone tree.”

Underwater roots of a mangrove tree at the Bunaken National Marine Park, Sulawesi Island, Indonesia

Image source, Leena Roy

Leena Roy took to the water in Bunaken National Marine Park, Sulawesi Island, Indonesia, to photograph a mangrove tree and win the Plants and Planet category.

“The leaves of the tree are underwater at high tide,” said Roy.

“Mangrove forests not only act as carbon banks, they stabilise the coastline from storms and erosion as well as being a vital habitat for fish, crustaceans and hunters like sea snakes. Their above-water canopies are home to many birds and mammals.”

Nigella flower

Image source, Angi Wallace

The Beauty of Plants category was won by Angi Wallace with a picture of a Nigella flower taken on her dining room table.

“My camera was placed on a mini-tripod and an automated focus stacking rail.

“I chose to focus-stack 43 images together to make the most of combining high details of the subject, with a soft and dreamy background.”

A 1mm tall Craterium minutum slime mould

Image source, Barry Webb

A 1mm tall slime mould was the subject of Barry Webb’s winning picture. It was awarded first place in the World of Fungi category.

“The Craterium minutum slime mould was found on decaying vegetation, at the edge of a compost heap in my garden, captured following a hard frost,” said Webb.

“I was surprised to see the unusually cube-shaped ice formations on the fruiting body of this slime mould. This shot is comprised of 87 focus-bracketed images, focus-stacked together.”

A frosty and misty dawn in autumn on the River Brathay, in the Lake District National Park

Image source, Drew Buckley

The Trees, Woods and Forests category was won by Drew Buckley, who captured a misty scene on the River Brathay in the Lake District.

“The cold blues of the frosty landscape offset against the warm, orange hues of the early morning sun – cloaking the trees in an enchanting light,” said Buckley.

Flowers in The Dolomites, South Tyrol

Image source, Albert Ceolan

Albert Ceolan won the Wildflower Landscapes category.

“I captured this vast wildflower meadow, which stretched as far as the eye could see, across a plateau of the Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm) – the largest high-alpine meadow in Europe, in the Dolomites, South Tyrol,” said Ceolan.

A squirrel in the grass

Image source, Fernando Avanka

Fernando Avanka’s picture of a squirrel in Sri Lanka won the Wildlife in the Garden category.

“It was a bit of a cloudy afternoon, when I saw several squirrels moving across the green grass, playing and eating,” said Avanka.

“I located myself in a perfect place, expecting another good day of squirrel photography.

“I was lucky to photograph this smart-looking individual, standing on its hind legs, nibbling a grass seed head, thinking to itself ‘this tastes yummy’. Finally, I had captured the shot I wanted.”

All of these pictures and many others can be seen in an exhibition at Kew Gardens from 3 February until 10 March 2024.

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