There have been individual books resulting from the International Garden Photographer of the Year, but this is a collection of images from five years of the competition, and it is simply stunning. In fact, I can honestly say that this is one of the most gorgeous photography books I have ever seen.
If you enjoy gardens then you will love this book. If you appreciate photographing them it is a fantastic source of inspiration.
The book itself is beautifully produced with weighty paper which showcases the photos to their fullest.
There are images here ranging from macro views of seeds and single plant heads, to wide vistas across huge gardens. Pictures taken by professionals and amateurs, on top of the range digital DSLRs, on camera phones, and on lots of things in between.
The Walled Kitchen Garden at Claydon (Nigel Burkitt) on pages 108 & 109 is a beautiful image which just shouts 'English garden'. The detail, colours and lighting of this photo blend to give a timeless quality and made me want to take a walk there!
Water Lillies (Nigel Symington) on page 90 is a simple composition with few colours and limited details. It looks like a Chinese silk painting!
Kenrokuen (Claire Takacs) on pages 8 & 9
This was the winner in 2008, and I can see why. Taken in Japan during the cherry blossom season, the photographer visited the gardens as snow was falling. Other visitors carrying umbrellas were crossing the bridge in the middle of Claire's frame. One had a pink umbrella. If you cover this small pink splash of colour with your hand the whole picture loses a little impact - though still remaining mystical and soft. To me it is an utterly magical photograph.
Ancient Coppice in the Grip of a Deep Freeze on pages 234 & 235
I love trees, and in winter their structure is often striking. The lighting, colour and detail in this picture are all beautiful. It manages to look cold yet not repelling and you can see every twig!
Throughout this sizeable volume there is enough detail about the cameras and post processing used for each picture to satisfy the photographer, and enough detail generally about the picture to satisfy those less interested in the technical details.
I have a decent collection of photography books, and this will definitely be one to which I will return for enjoyment and inspiration. Well worth buying.