Photographs can be submitted at any time up to the closing date, which is normally early in December each year. Please check the HPS newsletter or contact the photo librarian for the exact date. A panel of judges will then assess the photographs, which are anonymised for the judging, and the results will normally be published in the February Newsletter with the winning photographs printed in the Spring Journal.
There are three categories :-
- Individual hardy perennial - whole plant or close up
- Plant grouping, border, garden view or HPS events
- Photographs taken by members’ children or stepchildren / grandchildren or step-grandchildren (16 or under). Any gardening related subject.
The competition was started with a legacy from Nancy, Lady Rowlinson. It is now funded from the Kenneth Black legacy.
Prizes will be given for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in each category of £50 / £30 / £20 (with book tokens for children).
HPS Photo Librarian
Even if you are not entering the contest, please consider donating reasonable quality images to the digital photo library by emailing them to the Photo Librarian.
Images in the photo library are available, free of charge, for use by speakers and for use in magazines, books, TV programmes etc. If you wish to retain copyright on your pictures, we regret we cannot add them to the library. For details, please contact the photo librarian at Photo Librarian.
The competition is only open to HPS Members
Winners of the 2022 HPS Photographic Competition
This was a good year with lots of entries in all categories. There was the panic again as usual where I worry about how many people would enter as the closing day approached but you didn't let me down and I had lots of entries on the closing day itself. Due to personal circumstances, I couldn't get together with my usual judges so I had to draft in family instead to help me with judging. I would therefore like to thank Anna Dejaegher-Joseph, Jasmine Dejaegher, Siska Vanhoutte-Dejaegher and Helena Vanhoutte who all had their own ideas who the winners should be this year. Some of the winning pictures were pretty much unanimously agreed on, others less so...
Before I announce the winners, I would like to thank everyone for sending in your pictures or the pictures taken by your children/grandchildren. It's always a joy to go through them all and always as difficult to decide which ones should go further as it always feels like 5 people should be in the top 3. So these are this year's winners:
Category 1: Individual hardy perennial - whole plant or close up
- 1st price: Jean Dance with a picture of Astrantia. We all loved the softness of the picture. It comes to show that you don't always have to have everything in focus which allows the few colours that are in this picture to blend inside each other. As is often the case, less is more. More colours would have been a distraction.
- 2nd price: Alan Skene with a picture of Spanish poppy, Papaver rupifragum, which was taken in his garden. This can't have been an easy picture to take but it was certainly worth it! It shows the poppy in a paper like quality by making beautiful use of backlighting. We also like the way the vibrant colours of the poppy stood out against the black background.
- 3rd price: Gordon James with a picture of Tricyrtis hirta. This is a very small flower that packs so much personality with all its curves, spotty patterns, yellow ring, ... You just don't know where to look first as there's so much to see in this one flower.
Category 2: Plant grouping, border, garden view or HPS events
- 1st price: Suzanne Griffiths with a picture of Crocosmia amid Michaelmas daisies. This was a very easy winner as everyone picked that one out. The wall of daisies makes you wonder how beautiful a picture that could be in itself but Suzanne bravely put them in the background and instead contrasted it with the bright yellow of the Crocosmia.
- 2nd price: Charles Jeffries with a picture titled 'White Delight'. This is an absolute amazing combination of whites and greens which is so difficult to achieve. We liked the painting like quality of the picture.
- 3rd price: Margaret Hargreaves with a pictured titled 'Mixed bed of summer perennials'. This is summer in a picture! It's a wall of colour. We also liked how well it blends in with the trees in the background.
Category 3: Photographs taken by members' children/stepchildren/grandchildren/step-grandchildren (16 and under) - any gardening related subject
- 1st price: Olly Ryall who is 14 with a picture titled 'Dahlia in Nan's garden'. Wow! This is a picture perfect Dahlia. It's beautifully symmetrical and the lighting makes it show off in all its glory.
- 2nd price: Mya Jassime who is 9 with a picture titled 'Snow Blooming'. It certainly make you wish it was spring already and I like the snow reference in her title as it does indeed look like snow when the leaves start to fall.
- 3rd price: Isla Hall who is 12 with a picture titled 'I liked the stripy leaves on this plant in Nan's garden'. Isla, we agreed, we also liked the stripy leaves on that plant. Keep finding beauty in something as simple as stipy leaves please!
So that's it again for this year. Next year's competition deadline will be December 6th again. I'm looking forward to receiving some pictures of snow and ice covered plants and borders!
Matthias, HPS Photo Librarian
Just when I thought we would be able to get together again to judge the pictures, Omicron decided to intervene so we had to judge via email again which isn't half as much fun. There were far fewer entries this year than last year but I'm glad that this year, the largest category was that from children!
These are the winners of the 2021 photo competition in the individual category:
- 1st is Nadine Mitschunas with a picture of Symphyotrichum noci-belgii. The water droplets on top of the flower are so clear that you can even see the inner reflections. It's not just the droplets that catch the eye, it's the background that complements the flower so well.
- 2nd is Gordon James with a picture of Rosa 'Scharlachglut'. I have to admit to never having seen a picture of a rose like this. The lighting is perfect and in this picture it's the black background that complements the bright red colours of the rose so well. I wanted to dub the picture 'rose in flames'.
- 3rd is Mary Jones. What we liked about this picture was the colours which complement each other so well. It's as if the flower is sprouting tentacles.
These are the winners of the 2021 photo competition in the border category
- 1st is Louise Sims with a picture called 'October Early Morning'. Well, I certainly would have loved to be there that early morning! It has everything you want in a composition: great depth, soft light, just the right amount of fog, ... It takes the eye from the front right through to the back.
- 2nd is June Skinner who said that this was a newly crated wildflower meadow all from own seeds. I would love to see how this meadow will look like in the next couple of years! It evokes the feeling of spring.
- 3rd is Linda Hall. The picture takes you from the front to the back into the height. It has a great movement to it.
These are the winners of the 2021 photo competition in the children's category (and very unusual when judging, we were almost anonymous!)
- 1st is Chloe Jassim, 4 years old who called this picture 'golden fingers'. The color, focus and exposure of this picture are amazing. I would probably struggle to do this myself and Chloe is only 4 years old!
- 2nd is Sohpie Wilson, 10 years old who said about the Chrocosmia picture that it was taken moments before Milo the kitten jumped out. This picture screams 'alive' at me!
- 3rd is Jamie Hall, 12y old. We loved the over exposed light on the top left and the contrast between shadow and the bright light shining on the bright yellow flower. The flower is certainly in the spotlight!
Congratulations to the winners and thank you everyone again for entering into the competition. As usual, the closing date for the competition next year will be December 6th again so start taking pictures, winter or summer, covid or no covid!
I would also like to thank the judges: Winsome Muir, Peter Muir and Jianhua Liu who as always gave me their honest views.
Category 1: Individual hardy perennial
1. Robert Hinchcliffe, Centaurea montana 'Purple Heart'
This is what macro photography is all about! While Centaurea montana 'Purple Heart' is already a beatiful flower, this picture elevates it to a different level. The lighting is perfect throughout the picture, the green background complements the colour of the plant, the very narrow depth of field draws in the eye but also gives the edges a very soft feeling. Technically, this is very difficult to achieve so a worthy winner!
2. Louise Sims, Rosa 'Cecile Brunner'
This is a mesmerising picture. The pink petals of the rose and the spider web are beautifully backlit. The ray of sunshine look like the rose is about to give a performance in a theatre. There are no further distractions which accentuates the beauty of this picture further. I like it when pictures seem to try to tell a story and this rose seem to be trying to tell a lot of stories. I wouldn't be surprised if it could sing a beautiful aria too!
3. Aidan Putland, Anemone nemorosa
Most people enjoy this wood anemone as part of a beautiful carpet of flowers. It takes a change of mindset to actually view this as a beautiful individual flower, go low on the ground to watch and take a picture where you can see only a few flowers. Taking pictures in woodlands is never easy and it looks like this picture may be taken with a heavily laden sky overhead. But it is exactly this lack of direct light which makes this picture and flower stand out. You can simply feel the forest around you.
Category 2: Plant grouping, border, garden view or HPS event
1. Alan Wilson, Seat to dream on
This is a perfect blend of colours: the green leaves blend in very well with the colour of the wall and the wall blends in with the wood of the seat. The wood in itself blends in with the metal of the back and the light pink of the flowers blends in with the bleached wood. The picture was also taken at the right time of the day before the sun became too harsh and gives the picture a very soft feeling. It's a picture that makes you ask questions which is what we liked: how long has the seat been there, who was the smith who created the beautiful metal roses, when was the last time somebody sat on this bench, were the flowers and bench put there on purpose, ...
2. Helen Ostrycharz, Foxgloves (taken in Sterlingshire during HPS event)
This is a picture that drew us in more and more. The two words that came back over and over again with this picture was 'I wonder...'. I wonder how long that tree has been there, I wonder what sort of weather it had to endure in its lifetime, I wonder what's behind the hedge, I wonder what's lurking between the foxgloves and ferns, ... The picture has a very ancient feeling to it. As if it has been like this for hundreds, if not thousands of years and we were given the priviledge to have a look.
3. Nadine Mitschunas, Misty morning
I feel cold just looking at this picture. But cold in a good way! This time in the morning and time of the year, when the sun shines through the morning fog, is my absolute favourite. No flowers are given an advantage over others as later in the day, the sun seems to favour the colourful ones. It's a great equaliser which is also why the grasses suddenly come into themselves. I can also just about see a path running through the middle and you wonder where the path leads us to. But it's also a picture of anticipation what the rest of the day will give because you can see it will be a wonderful day.
Category 3: Children
1. Daniel McGrail, 13y, Sorbus scalaris
We loved the contrast of shape and colour. The angle and composition of the shot is excellent as it draws your eye to the detail and then up and up it goes without compromising the background. This is something adults could learn from: adults usually take picture looking down so there is nowhere else to go but children have a unique point of view as they often need to look up which allows the eye to look further and further.
2. Sophie Wilson, 9y, I love trees
Pictures like this makes you want to put on your boots and go for a walk in the forest. You already seem to know when the best forest pictures can be taken and that's early in the morning when the shadow of the trees are long, like giants about to walk away as soon as you look the other way.
3. Mya Jassim, 7y, Like a forest in the rain
The title of your picture certainly put a smile on my face. It does indeed look like a picture of a forest (almost like palm trees!) on a very damp day. Well done for seeing this from a different point of view and for getting out on a day that looked like I'd rather stay indoors.