Discover the Majesty of Nature’s Garden

Discover the Majesty of Nature's Garden

Photography by Paula Cooper

Discover the Majesty of Nature's Garden

Since the end of the competition on October 31 we've been hard at work in preparation for our annual launch exhibition held in the Nash Conservatory at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. This not only involves everything competition and exhibition related but also the publication of our very special book, which we can't wait to reveal on February 8 when it goes on sale.

It's a busy but extremely rewarding period for us, when everything comes together in celebration of the work of photographers from around the world. And this year continues to explore new and inspirational ways of communicating the beauty and importance of plant life through photography. You don't want to miss this.

The exhibition will be open to the public on February 9. Expect to see winning images from nine main categories: Abstract Views, Beautiful Gardens, Breathing Spaces, Greening the City, The Beauty of Plants, The Bountiful Earth, Trees, Woods & Forests, Wildflower Landscapes and Wildlife in the Garden plus images from Young Garden Photographer of the Year, three Photo Projects and three special awards including Captured at Kew and Celebrating Our Oaks.

As we approach the exhibition launch date it's important to reflect on the meaning of what we're doing and why this photography matters. Dr. Paul Wilkin, Acting Director of Science at Kew Gardens, kindly provided the introduction to our book this year and his words capture the scope of both the mission and our relationship with nature:

"Each of the images compiled in IGPOTY Book 12 is a stunning testament to the beauty of the world’s biodiversity and its roles in human life, from the most basic, such as provision of food, to the heights of our aesthetic, cultural and spiritual experiences..."

The depth of this relationship is profound, and we hope this year's exhibition helps tell this story better than ever before.


The exhibition at Kew Gardens will run from February 9-March 10 2019. Fore more information visit Kew's website here.

The winners of Competition 12 will be made live on the IGPOTY website from February 8.

New Photo Project for IGPOTY 13

New Photo Project for IGPOTY 13

Square Crop

Echinacea by Nigel Burkitt

New Photo Project for IGPOTY 13

For 2019 we have the Square Crop Photo Challenge returning as a permanent fixture to our calendar as it takes its place as the fourth Photo Project.

The Photo Project will run from September 1 - October 1 2019 and will have a first place prize of £500.

In Competition 11, Nigel Burkitt was awarded first place for his beautifully composed image of Echinacea (see here) for the Square Crop Photo Challenge. The format is so versatile that virtually any botanical subject can feature in the image.

Tyrone McGlinchey, Managing Director of IGPOTY said: “The art of the crop can make or break an image and a square crop really forces us to consider the place of every element and its contribution to the composition. This Photo Project then is all about balance, critical ability and subject understanding.”

Use the main competition categories to draw subject matter inspiration and remember it’s always good to shoot fresh, original captures for every competition.

Watch out for more exiting competition news coming soon!

More information on this new Photo Project will be available to see on the launch of Competition 13 on February 20.

Ancient Oaks of Blenheim Palace

Ancient Oaks of Blenheim Palace

Get inspired for the Beautiful Blenheim special award

Photography by IGPOTY

Ancient Oaks of Blenheim Palace

Back in September, some of the IGPOTY team visited Blenheim Palace to capture some of their magnificent veteran oaks. Head Forester Nick Baimbridge guided the team through an area in the estate known as High Park. Within, there are are roughly 968 veteran oaks (over 400 years old). The oldest was thought to be the King Oak but is now believed to be the oak featured in this post image, estimated at 1,046 years old.

In the latter part of their life cycle the oak starts a natural process of slowing down crown growth and losing outer branches (retrenchment), making trunk size expand with age. Although the veteran period of the oak life cycle is one of natural decline, this oak is still producing new growth and has a dense canopy with massive, sprawling limbs.

In other veteran oaks, as leaves and branches are shed from the crown, naturally, or by storm damage, the tree can begin to exhibit intricate shapes from the remaining bare larger branches, taking on the appearance of stag horns and creating a palpable sense of age.

The number and age of these oaks make for a landscape unlike any other in its beauty and atmosphere.

As Nick Baimbridge explains:

“The Ancient Oaks are part of a medieval wood Known as Wychwood Forest, the majority of the ancient oaks on Blenheim Estates are located in an area called High Park. Henry I used it for hunting deer and being part of a Royal forest, no one was allowed to harvest wood from the area. That is why it has been naturally preserved for so long – most of the trees are at least four hundred years old, there are even some that are a thousand years old.

Walking amongst the ancient oaks is like walking back in time and you wonder what they have seen in their life time and what stories they could tell. Here at Blenheim we are trying our hardest to preserve the old trees and woodland by cutting back the younger competition and therefore giving them light, and also collecting acorns to grow on for the next generation.

We have recently discovered that it is one of the most important ancient woodlands in Europe, not only for the oaks, but for all of the wildlife that it supports; there are many rare fungi, lichens, wild plants and insects.”


Feeling inspired? Blenheim Palace is home to an extraordinary amount of botanical photographic opportunities and we’re proud to be celebrating this with a new special award, Beautiful Blenheim, which is open now and free to enter.

Beautiful Blenheim Now Open

Beautiful Blenheim Now Open

Beautiful Blenheim Now Open

Competition 12 Closed at Midday – Many Thanks for Entering!

Competition 12 Closed at Midday - Many Thanks for Entering!

Competition 12 Closed at Midday - Many Thanks for Entering!

The Greater Garden

The Greater Garden

Thinking of entering? Find out what garden photography means to us

Photography by Annie Green-Armytage

The Greater Garden

We’re now approaching the final deadline of Competition 12 and it is therefore important to reflect on some of the wider values and aims of the competition, especially if you’re entering for the first time. Specifically, what does garden photography mean to us and why it has to encompass such a broad range of photographic context.

Garden photography can seem like a niche genre but unlocking the wider aspects of the subject craft, taps into nature photography and the trends of the current age in the most broadest sense.

This is why botanical photography of all kinds is growing in popularity, not just because of its potential but because of its applicability and relevance to the challenges of the modern era, where the environment is facing ever more greater challenges. However, these challenges can be overcome and photography can and must play its part.

By focusing on flora, garden photography stretches into vast parts of the natural world all with an equally vast potential for the photographer. Where there’s flora there are the qualities of the garden and all of the accompanying feelings and associations that go with it.

The desire to cultivate and control (it could be said all art is a desire to feel, communicate or exert control) that which we see in nature is an ancient activity and the garden is just one of these manifestations.

Just as plant hunters would return to royal courts or learned societies with their newfound treasures so the verb ‘capture’ is used to describe the act of creating a botanical photograph that we can share with the world without a need for exploitation and human cost. That is the beauty of the current quest. To take up the same initiative of cultivation and control, but to renewed celebratory and inspirational ends. The age of discovery will never truly die.

The cultivation of values and activities that bring us closer to nature, not further apart is the new act of botanical capture. A garden then is a space used to nurture this connection and the camera is the proof of its existence, wherever we may be.

Photography helps quantify this experience and communicate its importance. We therefore define garden photography as the ways in which we experience flora, in any location, in any setting with any interpretation.

Taking ownership of important things we have the ability to control, whilst cultivating that which we want to see in the world is what modern day garden photography means to us and we’re more excited than ever to say, enter now.

Still Life Photo Project winners

Still Life Photo Project winners

Still Life Photo Project winners

Call for entries into International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition 12

Call for entries into International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition 12

Help us celebrate the beauty and importance of a green planet

Photography by Paul Marcellini

Call for entries into International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition 12

The International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition 12 main competition is now approaching the final deadline of October 31.

Competition 12 sees more exciting opportunities for winning an award plus more partnerships and prizes than ever before, as we work to celebrate and protect plants, gardens and green spaces around the world.

Now is the perfect time to be working on your images – from plant portraits to fantastical botanical landscapes – help us inspire the world to see the value, beauty and importance of a green planet.

The overall winner will receive £7,500 for the best single image and the overall winner of the Portfolios will win £2,000 and a gold medal from the Royal Photographic Society.

Best in category photographers will receive separate cash prizes, and new for Competition 12, first, second and third category places will receive a special subscription to ImageRights, a service for tracking and enforcing copyright of images.

Selected winners will be exhibited at the world famous Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in February 2019.

Winners will then tour to exhibitions across the UK, Europe and worldwide and feature extensively in national and international media coverage.  See your images featured at some of the world’s most iconic cultural and horticultural venues, from museums, botanic gardens and art galleries to UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

New partnerships include the Botanic Gardens Conservation International Threatened Plants Photographic Award which has special prizes. Entries into The Beauty of Plants will automatically be considered for this award.

With 9 main categories to choose from and unique special awards, there is something for everyone – including the return of the European Garden Photography Award which has a separate first place prize of 1000 Euros.

We also see the return of the Abstract Views category which proved particularly popular, producing highly original photography, pushing the genre and expanding our perception of nature.

Winners will also feature in our beautiful annual book publication which is sold across the world at our exhibition venues.

The competition is open to amateurs and professionals worldwide and you don’t need expensive camera equipment to enter.

Categories and Special Awards include:

  • The Beauty of Plants
  • Beautiful Gardens
  • The Bountiful Earth
  • Wildflower Landscapes
  • Greening the City
  • Portfolios
  • Wildlife in the Garden
  • Trees, Woods & Forests
  • Breathing Spaces
  • Abstract Views
  • European Garden Photography Award
  • Captured at Kew

For more information on each category visit the category guide:

It’s an absolute privilege to be part of this competition which is the industry leader for garden, planet and botanical photography. All photographers want their work to mean something and competitions should stand for something bigger than the sake of competition itself.

Entering a competition says something about your work as a photographer and IGPOTY’s message is louder and clearer than ever: we must continue to celebrate the beauty and importance of a green planet. Photography demonstrates over and over again that it has a unique power to inspire and educate and our twelfth competition year holds vast new potential for positive environmental awareness.


Remember, don’t leave it until the last minute to ensure an optimum experience and so you have enough time to edit your entries.

We’re here to help with any questions @igpoty on social. Don’t forget to sign up for mailshots for the latest news, updates and competition reminders.

Good luck! Let's make it the best yet.

Enter now.

Still Life Photo Project now closed.

Still Life Photo Project now closed.

Thank you for entering!

Still Life Photo Project now closed.

Celebrating our Oaks

Celebrating our Oaks

By Tony Kirkham, Head of Arboretum, Gardens & Horticulture Services, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Little Oak by Steve Palmer

Celebrating our Oaks

A new special award within the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition has been launched to highlight the plight of the UK’s oaks.

The oak tree holds a very special place in the hearts and minds of people, from druids staging rituals in oak groves to King Charles II hiding in one, the oak plays a huge part in our culture and history. Almost 6,000 oaks went towards building Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory and the oak hammer beam roof in Westminster Hall took 660 tonnes of oak to construct, making it the largest in Northern Europe.

Not only is it culturally important but oak is a foundation species supporting over 2200 other species and is the UK’s most important tree for biodiversity. There are over 121 million oaks in the UK, and more ancient oaks than the rest of Europe combined. These include the globally important Atlantic oak woodland – our temperate rainforest, The benefits they bring are priceless for biodiversity; culturally, economically and for our sense of wellbeing, losing them would be devastating.

UK oaks are under threat and we must act now to protect this iconic tree for the future.  Pests and diseases are challenging its very survival. Oak processionary moth, acute oak decline, root-attacking species of honey fungus and powdery mildews are all present in the UK today and weakening or killing our majestic oak trees, with the bacterial disease, Xyllela fastidiosa, an increasing threat as it moves its way across Europe towards the UK.

Faced with these challenges, Action Oak, a new initiative that aims to protect our oaks for future generations, was launched at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May. A unique collaboration of environmental bodies, charities, governments and landowners, Action Oak is working to raise the £15 million needed to fund a programme of activities which includes:

– Working with owners and managers of oak trees to help to protect the trees from the range of threats that they face;

– Funding research to improve our understanding of the threats to our oak trees and to inform best management practices;

– Using established professional and citizen science networks to record changes in the distribution, age and health of our oak trees to identify priority areas for action.

This programme of vital research and monitoring into the threats oaks are facing will build upon the ground-breaking research being undertaken already, that has not only helped us to understand the oak much better than before, but which has also revealed just how much there still is to learn, if we are to protect these much-loved trees for future generations.

To highlight the importance of these amazing trees in our landscape we are asking photographers to take pictures of their favourite oaks and to enter them in this special section of 2018’s International Garden Photographer of the Year competition.

As well as the thrill of finding and photographing your favourite oak tree, by entering you will be supporting Action Oak and giving yourself the chance to win a prize that money can’t buy.

Enter now.