10 breathtaking photos from gardens around the world

The latest International Garden Photographer of the Year winners have been announced

Stop what you’re doing. Pop the kettle on and take a moment to soak up the staggering beauty of this garden photography from around the world.

Now that most of us own a smartphone, whether we’re snapping stunning sunsets or capturing our cats in all their hilarity, we are more readily armed with the ability to take better quality pictures than ever before.

Landscape at night with view of stars in the sky over a mountain and the oceanCredit: Tony North, 1st Place, Breathing Spaces, Overall Winner, IGPOTY Competition 16

But sometimes, nothing beats spending hours waiting to take the perfect shot.

The winners and finalists of this year’s International Garden Photographer of the Year (IGPOTY Competition 16) are testament to the painstaking work and love that is poured into taking world-class photos.

We’ve selected some of our favourites…


Overall Winner

Breathing Spaces

Tony North’s stunning image (pictured above) called ‘Blue Tajinaste’ won the Breathing Spaces category and was crowned Overall Winner.

Taken on La Palma, part of the Canary Islands, it depicts Echium thyrsiflorum (Syn. Echium gentianoides), which is endemic to the mountains of La Palma island – from high up, there was a magnificent view of both the caldera below, and the stars above.

“It took an enormous amount of effort to be in that place at the right time”

“In particular the image you chose has a special meaning for me,” says North.

“It took an enormous amount of effort to be in that place at the right time on top of the caldera in La Palma in the middle of the night last May and yet more to capture and process the shots.” 

This photo will feature at the IGPOTY 16 flagship exhibition at Kew Gardens, which is planned to open to the public on Feb 4th 2023 and run until March 5th 2023. 

Portfolio Winner

Slime Mould Biodiversity

Barry Webb won the Portfolios competition (run separately in association with The Royal Photographic Society) for his set of six photos titled ‘Slime Mould Biodiversity’. 

six photos of slime mould growing on woodCredit: Barry Webb, 1st Place, Portfolios, IGPOTY Competition 16

Taken in Buckinghamshire, this portfolio illustrates the beauty and diversity of slime moulds.

“Their diminutive size and ephemeral nature, means that they often go unnoticed,” says Webb.

“I have spent the last three years searching for and documenting these little-known organisms.

“Every image in the portfolio has used focus stacking, to show the fruiting bodies of the slime moulds“.

7IM Abstract Views

Present Uncertain

Though Townshend’s vision of Dante’s Inferno created from a bug hotel in his garden won the 7IM Abstract Views category, we also loved his other work, ‘Present Uncertain’, taken in Northamptonshire, which was recognised as a Finalist.  

Close up abstract image of garden foliageCredit: David Townshend / IGPOTY Competition 16

“This image symbolises the threat of climate change – the surface of a planet becoming out of control,” says Townshend.

“I used in-camera multiple exposures to combine several elements in my garden.”

Beautiful Gardens

The Stream Garden

Taken by Caroline Piek (who won 1st Place in the Beautiful Gardens category), ‘The Stream Garden’ is in Waspik, Noord-Brabant, The Netherlands.

“The Stream Garden is an immersive naturalistic garden, designed by Noël van Mierlo of Van Mierlo Tuinen and landscaped by Totaaltuin Leende, and is shown here in all its glory in the first morning light using HDR,” she says.

Landscape with trees and a river at sunriseCredit: Caroline Piek / IGPOTY Competition 16

“The meandering watercourse that runs through the garden is directly connected to the River Maas and is full of life such as small fish, crayfish and mussels.”

Plants and Planet

Born from the Earth

This snap was taken by Ridhima Singh (Finalist, Plants and Planet) in Skógar, Iceland.

I photographed these attractive model turf houses, historically recreated at Skógar Museum in Iceland, which looked like houses born from the earth,” Singh says.

Small houses with turf roofs in front of grassy mountainsCredit: Ridhima Singh / IGPOTY Competition 16

“Historically, they were built using turf, due to the lack of availability of timber in Iceland and the challenging climate to provide insulation; a symbiosis of people with Plants & Planet.”

The Beauty of Plants

Fallen Orchid Flowers

Claire Carter (1st Place, The Beauty of Plants) took this image in Shropshire.

Two fallen white orchid flower headsCredit: Claire Carter / IGPOTY Competition 16

“I captured these dead orchid flowers, after they had dropped, when they started to dry and take on a wonderful, paper-like texture,” she says.

“To complement this, I added the background texture layer in post-processing.”

World of Fungi

Stemonitis Slime Mould

Portfolio winner Barry Webb also took 2nd Place in the World of Fungi category, with this image taken in a Buckinghamshire ancient woodland.

Close up image of pink slime mould growing on a wood logCredit: Barry Webb / IGPOTY Competition 16

“This interestingly shaped formation of the slime mould Stemonitis ­­– showing its fruiting bodies, was found on a decaying log, on the woodland floor,” he says.

“I focus stacked multiple images together to reveal its beauty.”

Trees, Woods and Forests


Finalist (for Trees, Woods and Forests) Timothy Burgess captured this tree on New Zealand’s South Island.

Trees warped by windCredit: Timothy Burgess / IGPOTY Competition 16

“Perpetually windswept and warped, these trees are located at Slope Point – the southernmost point of New Zealand’s South Island,” he says.

“These trees offer some of the only protection available to grazing animals in the vicinity.”

Wildflower Landscapes

Heather and Bracken

This image of heather and bracken in the New Forest, Hampshire, took 1st Place for the Wildflower Landscapes category.

Misty view over heathlandCredit: Mark Bauer / IGPOTY Competition 16

“This area of heathland near Burley in the New Forest is particularly photogenic in late August, when there is an extensive carpet of heather on the gentle slopes,” says photographer Mark Bauer.

“I found a section which was broken up by bracken, just starting to turn into golden hues. A lone tree in the distance made a natural focal point, with the hills behind it receding into the light mist.”

Wildlife in the Garden

Copper on Blue

Finalist Julie Pigula captured this butterfly in the National Trust Bodnant Garden, Conwy, for the Wildlife in the Garden category.

Copper butterfly landing on thistles in a gardenCredit: Julie Pigula / IGPOTY Competition 16

“It was a beautiful evening in the Garden, with no wind – so it was perfect for both flower and insect photography,” Pigula says.

“There were lots of bees and a couple of butterflies still feeding off the flowers in the round bed. I was attracted to this small copper butterfly, which on the blue Eryngium flowers, posed perfectly, complementing the colour combination of the scene.

“I combined two layers together in post-processing; one sharp, and one out-of-focus.”

Want to start taking better snaps and improve your garden photography? Check these top tips and showcase your garden to the world.

Rosanna Spence

Written by Rosanna Spence she/her


Rosanna Spence has been a journalist for nearly 10 years, reporting on a huge array of topics – from microwaves to cocktails, sustainable buildings, the Caribbean islands and beyond. She’s interviewed chefs at the helm of Michelin-starred restaurants and chatted to countless CEOs about their businesses, as well as created travel guides for experienced travellers seeking life-changing adventures. Throughout her career, she has created content for Business Traveller, i-escape.com, Pub & Bar, BRITA, Dine Out and many more leading titles and brands.

  • linkedin