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IGPOTY winners announced!

Philip Smith
1 March 2012
Blog team: 
Philip Smith reflects on a very successful fifth International Garden Photographer of the Year at Kew, and how wonderful it is to see photographers develop their skills and do really well in the competition.

Well, the judging is over, the exhibition is up, the book is printed, and the winners are announced. Time for a sit-down, a cup of camomile tea, a fluffy blanket and a catch up on what’s happening on Countdown. Maybe even a small slice of fruit cake.

It’s been an epic year. We have had about two months less than usual to get ready for the annual exhibition and so we are really, really and, yes, really, exhausted!. 

This year's winner - Upside Down by Magdalena Wasizcek

Bigger and better

We have had more entries than ever before and a whole swathe of new people taking part in the competition. We have had exhibitions in New York, Sydney, Wakehurst - Kew of course - Hereford and Portugal.

And what a set of winners and finalists we have! This year we are celebrating the fifth year of IGPOTY at Kew with a wonderful exhibition in the Nash Conservatory and you can see them all there.

Sometimes people say – why have an exhibition when you can see the photographs on the website, or in the book? To me it’s like watching a film on DVD compared with at the cinema. It’s a very different experience. You see the photographs much bigger and at their best. You mingle with people. You talk to your friend about the images, point things out and go back again to have another look. Going round an exhibition can be a life-changing experience for some people. It sticks in the mind.

Boat-house by Dace Umblija. Winner in the 'Breathing Spaces' category

Persistence pays off

This year we have seen some great achievements from people who have been trying to succeed in the competition right from year one. Dace Umblija has won the ‘Breathing Spaces’ category with her photograph of Winkworth Arboretum. Dace has come on a number  of our workshops and has always entered a variety of images – but has never been successful until now. And her photograph has been admired not only by the judges but by everyone who has seen it.

Our overall winner, Magdalena Wasiczek, has entered for the last four years and been a finalist before but never won a big award – this year she has won not only the overall winner award but also one of the categories –‘The Beauty of Plants’. Her photography has always been eye-catching but this year it has hit new heights.

So it’s time to reflect on a job well done by a large number of photographers. But what about the unsuccessful ones? Many of them have asked for feedback on their unsuccessful entries and they are waiting for replies which we are happy to give. We hope in the future, as this year, to unearth new talents as well as giving a lot of pleasure to a lot of people.

Apparently Carol Vorderman’s not on Countdown any more. And I’ve got crumbs all over my fluffy blanket. Yes we could start on the feedback emails right now. The next competition is already open and I’d love to see the early entries that people have begun to send in…and next year’s exhibition needs preparing…

Time to get up and at it!

- Philip -


More information


Buy the book

The book of IGPOTY 5 is now available at the Victoria Plaza shop, from Kew books, or from International Garden Photographer of the Year

Here’s what one person thinks of it:

"My copy arrived yesterday and after the day's grind I thought to flick through Collection 5 to quickly get an impression and take a moment between other tasks. It's Friday evening the twilight hour and a drink in my hand. I thought it would be a brief, relaxing - almost meditational moment between the real work - if you understand what I'm saying

Far from it, this collection is energising and inspiring. Each turned page is a new thrill. No doubt it's a strenuous annual challenge for you but what a result!! So goodbye three quarters of an hour and hello lift off!

What I love is the incredible permutation of the accidental, the carefully planned - the technological mastery, the eye for composition. And caring enough to return at dawn or some other improbable hour when the light will be right.

This is a long winded way of saying congratulations, what a privilege to be part of this fantastic programme."


10 March 2012
Hi, I'd like to express my admiration for all the photographs exhibited and gratitude to the people that make possible the IGPOY. I'm a portuguese living in Scotland and I went to Kiew Gardens, last saturday, just to see that: so much beauty! I was also very hounoured with one of my photos Higly Commended in the category Bountiful Earth! Thank you so much! All the very, very best to everyone involved in the competition. I look forward to seeing you in 2012! :) Maria
5 March 2012
I wanted to thank you for this very honorable mention which is the title of International Garden Photographer Of The Year! I still can not believe it's true, and that I'm a winner. I am very happy that I could come to Kew Garden this year, personally known so many wonderful people and enjoy a beautiful exhibition. March 1, 2012 I remember as one of the most beautiful days of my life - thank you to all the organizers and photographers! Best Regards from Poland!
4 March 2012
I am delighted to have won a 2nd, 3rd and finalist in several categories in this year's competition. The standard is exceptional and the quality of the book is first class. To have been chosen out of a large quantity of very well presented work is an honour and I shall continue to support this excellent event. Well done to the outright winners; very well deserved. See you in 2012 I hope !
2 March 2012
I'd like to express all my gratitude for giving the possibility of expressing myself. I'd also like to thank you for the occasion to look at delicious and poetical photos as those taken by Magdalena Wasizcek. Ciao! Fiorella Gaggero (Texture , Commended) from Genoa - Italy
2 March 2012
A fabulous day out at the prizegiving yesterday. A lovely building and a superb exhibition. Thank you to all who organised this event. The hard work paid off.
2 March 2012
Thank you for your kind comments. They look beautiful in the Nash Concervatory exhibition.
1 March 2012
Hallo, i´m very surprised about the beutiful winnerphotos. They ar so extraordinary beautiful. I like this competition and this year one of my photos was commended in the 4 seasons-competition "weather eye". Thank you ! Greeteings from germany and excuse my bad english !! Thomas Vollmert
1 March 2012
Beautiful photos. I love sweet peas, but it's too hot in my garden to grow them and cimicifugas are one of my favorite plants.
1 March 2012
Congratulations to all of the participants and to the winners! This is a wonderful event that draws attention to the beauty and excitement we all feel about the world of plants.

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