It's mid-December, there's bad news everywhere, and I bet we could all use the calming influence of nature, especially when it's at its most beautiful.  That's what has been compiled for us by judges for the International Garden Photographers of the Year Awards:  dozens of photos of plants, animals, gardens and wild places by the world's best photographers.  Pour your drink of choice and have a nice long look.

Local Gardens

First, the winner of the all-important Beautiful Gardens category is a local guy - Roger Foley, winning for photos of gardens in Virginia.  Click here to see the enlargement of Mount Sharon Farm (above in the screen shot) and click here for the garden in Middleburg that won a "Commended" from the judges, shown below.

Another winning local photo was The Snake, taken at the Eastern Shore garden of landscape architect James van Sweden.  I showed that same pool and other scenes from van Sweden's garden here on the Homestead blog

There are so many more categories to explore.


 In the Wildlife Havens category,  Drinking (below) is my favorite.


December is the perfect time to appreciate this winner in the Trees, Woods & Forest category.

And don't miss the Beauty of Plants category!


Don't miss the text next to each photo explaining the how and sometimes the why of each photo.  I find fabulous photographs like these not just inspiring but also helpful in improving my own beginner-level plant and garden shots.  A beginner can dream, right?

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