AS the first rays of sunshine pick out shades of lilac and purple in the tall allium blooms, and the morning mist evaporates over a rickety wooden fence, this picture of a Sussex garden is enough to give anyone a moment of peace and tranquility.

It was certainly good enough to win first prize at a prestigious international photography competition.

The composition, entitled “Through The Garden”, by amateur photographer Nicky Flynn, has been awarded first place in the ‘Beautiful Gardens’ category of the prestigious International Garden Photographer of the Year 2018 competition.

Nicky said: “I am absolutely thrilled and feel very honoured to have won ‘Beautiful Gardens’ with my photo of Great Dixter.

“I entered this image as it seems to capture a little of the essence of Dixter - a beautiful, unique and special place, one that is dear to me.

“Luckily Dixter is only a short drive away so I’m able to visit it often though I am very likely to be distracted on the way by an odd shaft of light and the mist over the river, carpets of bluebells or by the sheer beauty of the Sussex landscape at dawn.”

She added: “The great outdoors is my studio and I try to get out as much as I can.

“Early mornings, especially in the summer, are magical.”

Great Dixter is located to the East of Bodiam in East Sussex, and is best known for the country house and gardens once owned by gardener and gardening writer Christopher Lloyd.

International Garden Photographer of the Year is the world’s premier competition and exhibition specialising in garden, plant, flower and botanical photography.

It attracts thousands of entries each year, and this year’s category winners came from as far afield as Brazil, China and Canada as well as the UK.

Tyrone McGlinchey, Managing Director of IGPOTY said: “Nicky has managed to create a composition that has pronounced form, distinct layers and beautiful early morning light.

“As our eyes follow the lines of the planting, we are invited to walk through the lush borders and discover the wonder of a new day at Great Dixter.”

The award was presented at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, last month at the competition’s launch exhibition. Nicky’s photography is online at