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From misty mountains in China and crater lake of Oregon to Britain's green and pleasant lands: Dazzling images in International Garden Photographer of the Year competition go on display
By Tara Brady
A snail in a back garden and a mole bursting out of the earth to exotic landscapes and delicate flowers, these images are all finalists in the International Garden Photographer of the Year.
Organised with the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, the photographers will have their work taken on tour and published in a book.
The overall winner from 18,000 entries was photographer Dennis Frates who captured Crater Lake National Park, in Oregon.
However, Britain was well represented in the categories with pictures from Wales, Scotland, Hampshire, Bristol, Hertfordshire London parks and Cambridgeshire all featuring.
The eight categories were The Beauty of Plants, Wildflower Landscapes, Greening the City, Beautiful Gardens, Wildlife in the Garden, Trees, Woods, Forests, Breathing Spaces and The Bountiful Earth.
Photographers could enter single images or themed portfolios of six.
More than £12,000 worth of cash prizes were up for grabs as well as and medals from the Royal Photographic Society.
Philip Smith, IGPOTY Director said of the overall winner: 'All of the judges thought this was the outstanding image from this year's competition.
'First and foremost, it is technically superb. The composition is wonderfully balanced, with its strong diagonal energy leading the viewer to experience this fantastic vista almost at first hand.
'The light on the rock is what creates the magic.The photographer has waited for exactly the right moment, on the right day and he has made a huge effort to be in the right place.
'The 'wildflower landscapes' category is all about plants in their natural enivronment, and this image is a fantastic example of the sheer tenacity and adaptability of plant life.'
'It has been another fascinating competition with a greater range of diverse images than we have seen before and very worthy winners.
'Dennis Frates has been entering IGPOTY since it started and his success this year is reward for his dedication, skill and unique vision.
'It is especially satisfying to see a lot of new names appearing in the awards.'
Garden Photographer of the Year was set up by five members of the Garden Photographers' Association in 2007.
As a response to entries and enquiries from outside Great Britain, it added 'International' to the title in 2008.
Its first exhibition took place at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in May 2008 and quickly established itself as the world's premier garden and plant photography event specialising in garden, plant, flower and botanical photography.
The competition is open to everyone anywhere in the world. Images do not have to be taken in a specified year and there is no distinction drawn between professional and amateur photographers.
This year's exhibition will be launched at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh on March 22 in a purpose-built outdoor display.
Selections from the exhibition will then travel around the UK, Germany, Portugal and New York, with a centrepiece exhibiton at Bankside Gallery London from July 2.
The exhibition at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew will be in October.