International Garden Photographer of the Year

Yesterday Threadspider and I wended our way to Lacock Abbey to view the International Garden Photographer of the Year (IGPOTY*) exhibition currently housed in its grounds until 18th April. I thought you'd particularly like to see the above picture of the award winning 43 gardeners' hands by Paul Debois. James blogged about his sitting for this novel portrait a while ago and amongst the other great and the good of our UK gardening world, you'll find the likes of Plant Mad Nige, EmmaT (twice - many congratulations on the birth of your son Emma!) and Cleve.

Like last year's show the pictures snake through the Botanic Garden, where Fox Talbot grew some of the specimens he used for his book, Pencil of Nature. Lacock is a particularly apt location for this exhibition because it's where 175 years ago he developed the world's first photograph using the positive/negative image technique . With the advent of digital cameras this may seem an outmoded form of photography these days, but we owe a hell of a lot to Fox Talbot's inventiveness.

We also took time to walk around the grounds of the Abbey. The exhibition was accompanied by the magnificent song of the Song Thrush, whilst here we were directly underneath a quite large and raucous rookery. The woodland was in an in between stage: we were too early for most of the daffodils and too late for the snowdrops and crocus, with the exception of this sheet of blue we found in a cooler part of the woodland. There were also signs of wild garlic and fritillaries to come.

Over the winter many of the paths through this part of the garden have been relaid with fresh hoggin, so fresh it still needed our steps and those of many more to come and tamp it down into a firm walkway. We soon realised we were following in the tracks of a deer who must have passed that way only that morning.

After coffee and cake in the local tearoom, we had a final bit of excitement on the way home. The busy A350 just by our local garden centre has a horse crossing instead of a pedestrian one. I've waited years to take this albeit blurry, rainy picture of a horse + rider waiting to cross over the road. The red light you can see is an outline of a horse rather than the usual little man. You'll be pleased to know I wasn't driving at the time, it was Threadspider :)

* = does anyone else think I Go Potty when they see the IGPOTY acronym?


  1. Yay-the horse crossing! Sorry I couldn't slow down any more-I too have always wanted to see a horse using it.
    The song thrush recording I made is quite clear although the beginning section is marred by the wind blowing across the microphone. Pity, because it was an especially rich song. A grand day out VP. Cracking crocuses.

  2. Hoggin is just what I need for my paths! I wonder what the US version would be? I am dashing over to google to listen to a Song Thrush! gail

  3. aloha,

    this looks like it is a fantastic exhibit...i wonder how they protected the photographs in the outdoors, where they laminated?

  4. I stumbled across the IGoPotty exhibition whilst visiting Kew last year - I loved the way they displayed the photos within the gardens, something rather wonderful about viewing fabulous photographs outdoors. Had no idea it toured.

  5. Really interesting, VP. I'm off to Google more about Fox Talbot.

  6. my fave photo was latham's Polytrichum Mounds!
    mainly because they're kind of creepy in a bad sci-fi/horror flick involving mutant fleash-eating worms sort of way..& i just liked the colors of greens.

  7. I've just noticed that whenever I initially look at this post, my brain interprets the hands as butterflies.

  8. I went to this exhibition - twice! And it was good to see it so busy the other Sunday when there was 'free entry' day.

    Isn't it good to have somewhere like Lacock on the doorstep: I often go there just to eat my lunch!

  9. I too thought the first photo was of butterflies until I blew it up. Oops. LOVE the horse crossing signal. I have signs put up on the road before our house to indicate horse and rider, and while I don't know if they work or not for others, they certainly do when I see them when I'm out driving elsewhere.
    I'm so envious of everyone going to the Malvern meet, mostly because I would so much like to meet YOU, M, and tour around country and gardens like you, RO, and others show on your blogs. Sigh. Maybe next year...

  10. As you know I saw & enjoyed the exhibition when it was at Kew.

    As for the horse crossing, they have recently built one across the busy A3 very near to one of the entrances which you can only exit through from Richmond Park. I am looking forward to seeing a/some horses use it! Do they need special training?

  11. looking forward to visiting the show before it closes - just seems to be so much to do at the moment!

  12. Hi everyone - glad you enjoyed this snippet from the exhibition. It's well worth a visit and like Mark I hope to go again before it closes.

    Yes HM and Jodi, those hnds do look like butterflies don't they? I handn't noticed that before.

    Noel - aloha and welcome :)

  13. Jodi - we'd all love to meet you too and so many others across the pond. I'm hoping we'll show you we had such a good time, you won't be able to resist.

    And it all started with me joking to Gail about having an exchange visit, so you never know just who might end up crossing over the pond in the other direction!


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