A small north London garden by Arne Maynard

Gardens Illustrated photographers pick their favourite images of 2020

Our regular Gardens Illustrated photographers pick their favourite GI images of 2020 and explain why the shot worked so well

The last year has been a rollercoaster of a ride for all of us. Gardens Illustrated has continued to bring as much solace and inspiration to its readers as possible throughout, and much of that has been helped by our exceptionally talented photographers. To look back on the last year, we asked a handful of our regular photographers which were their favourite images printed in the magazine in 2020. The reasons were all different, from capturing a beautiful specimen to the conditions for photographing being just right, but all are just that little bit extra special.

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Read a little more from the photographers and peruse the images they love below.

1

Iris siberica ‘Papillion’, chosen by Dianna Jazwinski

Featured in May’s  Gardens Illustrated

Iris siberica 'Papillon'
Iris siberica ‘Papillon’
© Dianna Jazwinski

‘This Iris has the most glorious clear cobalt blue colour. There were growing together as a large group where I was able to capture these two well ‘posed’ Irises together with a strong sense of environment of those beyond them.’

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2

An Oxfordshire garden built on Tom Stuart-Smith’s original designs, chosen by Marianne Majerus

Featured in April’s Gardens Illustrated

A garden build on designs by Tom Stuart-Smith
© Marianne Majerus

‘When I arrived in this garden the borders around the kitchen garden were shrouded in mist. As the mist slowly lifted the sun began to filter gently through the apple trees in blossom, underplanted with tulips and camassias in a planting scheme by David Richter, beautifully conveying the freshness of a spring morning.’

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3

Helleborus orientalis subsp. abchasicus, chosen by Jason Ingram

Features in January’s Gardens Illustrated 

Helleborus orientalis subsp. abchasicus
© Jason Ingram

‘This hellebore image was taken at Ashwood Nurseries and was the January cover. Shooting at nurseries is always a challenge as you need to find good backdrops because often the plants are in pots. This means they can be easily moved about but obviously not in a garden setting. This was taken in the winter months so I had to try and make something work that would be consistent throughout all the images. The light was low in the sky but created some lovely backlight to the sides of the poly tunnel. I thought this would work really well so with a few crates in place and the odd clamp, I was able to get the light creating some lovely soft effects that added that extra interest to these wonderful species hellebores.’

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4

Rowes at Priory Gardens, chosen by Annaick Guitteny

Featured in October’s Gardens Illustrated

Rowe's at Priory Gardens: cutting garden in Yorkshire
© Annaïck Guitteny

‘I realised that the Rowes flower farm in Guisborough would make a stunning feature if the conditions were right. I arrived early and was rewarded with a beautiful sunrise behind the ruins of the East Gate of the Priory.’

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5

A James Basson designed dry garden in the South of France, chosen by Claire Takacs

Featured in June’s Gardens Illustrated

James Basson's garden on the French Riviera
© Claire Takacs
‘I loved seeing James Basson’s work and it was hugely inspiring to see what possible in dry gardens today. For me this is the ultimate garden, appropriate to place and with a stunning landscape as a backdrop, this time on the Côte d’Azur. I revisited this garden several times and surprisingly had to make several attempts to get a clear sunrise. It was incredible to see the change in the garden in a matter of weeks in April.’
6

Jake Hobson, Who’s Who, chosen by Charlie Hopkinson

Featured in the Gardens Illustrated Plant Issue Special 

Jake Hobson
© Charlie Hopkinson

‘Luck plays an important role in photography. This was a lucky shot – Jake looking down at his dog Darcey, who’s sniffing at whatever’s beyond that door, the top of the subject’s head perfectly aligned with the top of the door, everything coalesced at the same moment; not something I could really have arranged.’

‘I also like it because it lingers in my mind – what was beyond that door? And if the shot makes the viewer pause and go on to read the text, then my job is done and the picture’s a success.’

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7

An urban garden redesigned by Cassandra Crouch, chosen by Rachel Warne

Featured in the Gardens Illustrated Plant Issue Special

Martin and Nicola Henderson's urban garden
© Rachel Warne

‘You’d have no idea that what behind the door to this house was a young but full blossoming garden. It was the first time I had seen it and it was a feast for the eyes. Cassandra had taken the old bare garden and turned it into something very sophisticated with a contemporary feel, in keeping with the history and architecture of her client’s home. I normally don’t like the harsh light once the sun is high, but I just carried on shooting. The light was graphic and sharp which lent itself very well to the garden. A photographical delight.’

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8

Topiary and Corten steel in a small north London garden by Arne Maynard, chosen by Richard Bloom

Featured in April’s Gardens Illustrated

A small north London garden by Arne Maynard
© Richard Bloom

‘I love the exuberance of spring colour in this photograph, the tulips dance about like many different coloured jewels sparkling in the sunshine and somehow the myriad of colours work without jarring the eye.’

‘This is just one scene from a very unique north London garden designed by Arne Maynard. I was somewhat blown away by this garden as there’s so much packed into the space yet there is a real sense of calm and tranquility.’

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9

Ben Preston creating a Pots of Style feature with Geranium ‘Tiny Monster’, chosen by Eva Nemeth

Featured in April’s Gardens Illustrated

Ben Preston creating his container display
© Eva Nemeth

‘I chose this photo for so many reasons, one being the fact that I feel very honoured to be able to photograph such a wonderful and long running series in Gardens Illustrated, Pots of Style.’

‘I really enjoyed working with Ben Preston at York Gate Garden where I got to know every corner of one of the country’s most special gardens but also the wonderful people who make it this special and beautiful.’

‘The Yorkshire weather played a few tricks with us during these shoots but we managed to overcome all obstacles and looking at the images now, it was so worth the early morning starts and long days. The days shooting this series were very special indeed.’

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