You can enjoy landscapes, flowers, and wildlife from all over the world without leaving your home.

By Andrea Beck
March 17, 2020

With a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, everyone could use a moment of zen. Luckily, the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition announced winners for its 13th annual contest in February, and there are plenty of photos of dramatic landscapes, close-ups of flowers, and abstract nature settings to enjoy. The competition usually attracts about 20,000 individual entries every year from professional and amateur photographers, so there's stiff competition in every category. Now that smartphone cameras can capture high-quality images, anyone can take an amazing photo while they're out in nature, so if you keep your eyes peeled, you could end up on the winner's list next year!

Albert Ceolan/Courtesy of International Garden Photographer of the Year

Plants & the Planet Category and Overall Winner

Albert Ceolan, who photographed the Dolomite Mountains in South Tyrol, Italy, won the “Plants & the Planet” category and was the overall winner of the competition. In October 2018, a storm named “Vaia” hit northern Italy with hurricane-strength winds, toppling millions of trees throughout the region. Ceolan’s photo captures the aftermath of the destruction, with Mount Catinaccio rising in the background.

Jacky Parker/Courtesy of International Garden Photographer of the Year

Beautiful Gardens Category

With her photo of New Forest Lavender Farm in Wiltshire, England, Jacky Parker won the “Beautiful Gardens” category. She used a double-exposure to make the ornamental grasses in the photo look almost like they were painted, with Echinacea ‘Salsa Red’ flowers adding a few bursts of color to the landscape.

Thorsten Scheuermann/Courtesy of International Garden Photographer of the Year

Breathing Spaces Category

Thorsten Scheuermann won the “Breathing Spaces” category, which features gorgeous open landscapes, with his photo of orange Larix (larch) trees in the North Cascades Mountains in Washington state. The light from the rising sun on the horizon almost makes the yellow-orange needles on the trees look like they’re glowing.

Brandon Yoshizawa/Courtesy of International Garden Photographer of the Year

Greening the City Category

Seattle is well-known for its sustainability efforts, and Brandon Yoshizawa highlights the city’s green landscape in his winning photo for the “Greening the City” category. The sunset in the background lights up the highways and foliage throughout the city.

Jacky Parker/Courtesy of International Garden Photographer of the Year

The Beauty of Plants Category

Jacky Parker also took first place in “The Beauty of Plants” category for a close-up photo of an orange-red Rudbeckia flower. This image was also captured at New Forest Lavender Farm in Wiltshire, England, and the petals of the flower have all the colors of bright, brilliant changing autumn leaves.

Thorsten Scheuermann/Courtesy of International Garden Photographer of the Year

Trees, Woods, & Forests Category

Also the winner for the “Trees, Woods, & Forests” category, Thorsten Scheuermann took the top prize for a striking photo of a Taxodium distichum, or swamp cypress tree, in the wetlands of Louisiana. If you look closely, you can just see some of the tree’s roots poking out of the water around it.

Zhigang Li/Courtesy of International Garden Photographer of the Year

Wildflower Landscapes Category

Wildflowers will be springing up across the country soon, but last spring, Zhigang Li captured the winning photo for the “Wildflower Landscapes” category. It shows a green field dotted with pink and yellow flowers at the Napahai Nature Reserve, high in the mountains in Diqing in Yunnan province in China.

Jim Turner/Courtesy of International Garden Photographer of the Year

Wildlife in the Garden Category

Bees are important pollinators all across the world, and Jim Turner won the “Wildlife in the Garden” category for capturing a sweat bee at work. In the photo, taken at Brookside Gardens in Silver Spring, Maryland, the bee is perched on the anther of a Lilium flower, and you can see tiny particles of red pollen transferring from the plant to the bee’s legs and body.

Maggie Lambert/Courtesy of International Garden Photographer of the Year

Abstract Views Category

Though it looks more like a painting, Maggie Lambert’s winning photo for the “Abstract Views” category was taken at Scarborough Art Gallery in North Yorkshire, England. In the photo, one of the walls of the gallery is reflected in a fish pond, which is what gives the photo such an ethereal quality.

Keep an eye out any unique or gorgeous scenes while you’re working in your garden this year or enjoying an afternoon stroll. Entries for this year’s competition opened on February 12, and you can submit photos until October 31 (there’s a £12 fee to enter four single images, which is about $14.50). I scrolled for quite some time through the galleries for the runners-up and honorable mentions in each category, as well as the special award winners. The dozens of landscape and garden pictures are sure to put you in the mood for spring!

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