Winners of the 2023 Garden Media Guild Awards

The results are in…

Barbara Segall with Jekka McVicar at awards ceremony
credit: Jekka McVicar

The Garden Media Guild Awards celebrate the best of horticultural communications, recognising the talent, skill and inspiration of garden media professionals. Individuals and organisations from across the industry put forward their best work, which is judged by their peers and experts in the field.

Outstanding Contribution Award 2023

Winner: Barbara Segall

This award is bestowed to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution over a number of years to our profession and is in the gift of the GMG Committee.

Barbara Segall is an award-winning horticulturist and freelance garden writer. Segall was a student in KwaZuluNatal in South Africa, and went on work as a journalist in Durban. Having moved to London, she wanted to specialise in garden writing and enrolled at Otley College in Suffolk in 1986. A member of a multitude of societies and organisations, Segall is a Trustee of Perennial and member of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners, a City of London Livery Company. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture and editor of their magazine; The Horticulturist.

Segall writes a blog, entitled ‘The Garden Post” and is assistant County Organiser for the National Gardens Scheme in Suffolk.

The Peter Seabrook Practical Book of the Year

Winner: Emma Crawforth for Things to do with Plants.

The judges said “The winner of Practical Book of the Year is a compelling read, covering multiple topics that are very relevant to the gardening audience of the present day. The author’s voice came through, as did a strong sense of articulation and creative flair. It perfectly fulfils the criteria of a very good read and a highly practical book.”

Also shortlisted for the award:

  • Chris Baines for RHS Companion to Wildlife Gardening
  • Sally Nex for RHS Can I Grow Potatoes in Pots
  • Rekha Mistry for Rekha’s Kitchen Garden
  • Sarah Raven for A Year Full of Veg
  • The Garden Book of the Year – Sponsored by STIHL

The Garden Book of the Year

Winner: Shahina Ghazanfar for Plants of the Qur’ān

The judges said, “The entries for this category were outstanding and it was very difficult to decide the winner and shortlist, but this collaboration of author and illustrator has produced a remarkable, unique book. This book invites its readers in with warmth and knowledge, on a breathtaking journey of discovery. A truly inspirational book.”

Also shortlisted for the award:

  • Adam Alexander for The Seed Detective
  • Adrian Bloom for Foggy Bottom – A Garden to Share
  • Philip Clayton for A Plant for Every Day of the Year
  • Jane Perrone for Legends of the Leaf

Garden Publication of the Year

Winner: Gardens Illustrated

The judges said, “The judges agreed that all entries were of a very high standard but the winner was chosen for their development and innovation, with a fresh approach to illustration, editorial and presentation. This magazine has increased its appeal significantly over the past year, offering a broad view of plants and garden with glorious photography, excellent editorial and rich content.”

Also shortlisted for the award:

  • The Garden
  • The Plant Review
  • Which? Gardening
  • BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine

The Dr David Hessayon Garden Writer of the Year

Winner: Matthew Collins

The judges said, “In this category, the winner’s work stood out through the diversity of their writing topics. The writing was inspirational, engaging and real. It is such a skill to write long form with such a generous voice to a range of audiences and the winner passes on their knowledge and experience eloquently, hooking the reader, and leaving them wanting to learn more. Wonderful.”

Also shortlisted for the award:

  • Marianne Willburn
  • Clare Foster
  • Rachel de Thame
  • Jodie Jones
  • Paula McWaters

Practical Journalist of the Year

Winner: Benedict Vanheems

The judges said, “The judges really enjoyed the winner’s succinct and confident writing style, which helped lead readers through every process of growing. Relevant images, step-by-steps and a range of jobs ensured there was something for everyone in each of their entries. The informative text was engaging and punchy, and all the information was quickly digestible.”

Also shortlisted for the award:

  • Emma Rawlings
  • Jo Thompson
  • Charles Dowding
  • Kim Stoddart

The Beth Chatto Environmental Award

Winner: Ade Sellars

The judges said “The winner’s writing is engaging, easy to read, and their personality shines through with an appropriate sense of humour. He sets out an easy to follow, do-it-yourself guide detailing well-considered and helpful options, with related pros and cons. Specific planting options are provided and the article is supported with great photography.”

Also shortlisted for the award:

  • Liz Potter
  • Jean Vernon
  • Rebecca Searle
  • Annie Green-Armytage
  • Stephanie Hafferty

The Gordon Rae Photographer of the Year

Winner: Bennet Smith

The judges said, “All of the finalists’ would have been worthy winners. However, the judges agreed that one portfolio stood out not only for its technical excellence in matters such as sharpness, exposure and depth of field, but also because of the aesthetic quality of all the images. In particular, there is superb use of natural light, and a clear awareness of the optimum time of day for making the photographs. The compositions are all well-balanced and harmonious, with some pleasingly unusual use of viewpoints and angles”.

Also shortlisted for the award:

  • Jason Ingram
  • Clive Nichols
  • Marianne Majerus
  • Jonathan Buckley

Features Photographer of the Year

Winner: Richard Bloom

The judges said, “The standard of entries in the Features Photographer of the Year category was high, but there was one entry in particular that beautifully illustrates three remarkable gardens. The different characters of the gardens are skilfully captured, with superb use of light. Expansive views of the gardens and borders, enhanced by warm sunlight, sit alongside more subtly lit portraits of selected plants with incredible depth and detail. It is the consistency of approach and the mesmerising compositions in all three features that ensured this entry rose to the top of the pile.

Also shortlisted for the award:

  • Anna Omiotek-Tott
  • Clive Nichols
  • Annaïck Guitteny
  • Mimi Connolly

Portfolio Photographer of the Year

Winner: Molly Hollman

The judges said, “We liked the use of macro to sharply highlight an insect world that is critical to plant survival, but whose role is often underrated. By bringing these insects into context with the plants that depend on them, the winner has created something that makes a real point in a very meaningful way, whilst also producing highly decorative work. We also recognised how difficult it is to capture crisp images of insects going about their life and to put them into context as here, which we felt was a real achievement”.

Also shortlisted for the award:

  • Gillian Plummer
  • Marina Walker
  • Joe Wainwright

The Roy Lancaster Broadcast of the Year

Winner: Monty Don’s Adriatic Gardens (BBC)

The judges said, “In this category, the winner stood out as a programme that promised and delivered a simple concept; glimpses into gardens not normally accessible to visitors, the history of those gardens and their current place in their society. It was beautifully shot, evoking all the romance and history of that ancient city and showcasing a range of different types of gardens. A worthy winner”.

Also shortlisted for the award:

  • Gardeners’ World 2023
  • Love Your Garden Series 13
  • Beechgrove Garden 2023

Radio Broadcast or Podcast of the Year

Winner: Talking Gardens podcast by Gardens Illustrated

The judges said, “The judges felt this podcast does indeed recreate the style it claims in its intro text. The winner’s gentle but informed style of interviewing brought out the interviewee’s characteristic enthusiasm very successfully. A worthy winner that combines two pillars of British gardening”.

Also shortlisted for the award:

  • Two Good Gardeners
  • Gardeners’ Corner
  • Grow, Cook, Eat & Arrange with Sarah and friends

The Alan Titchmarsh New Talent of the Year

Winner: Bob Askew

The judges said, “The judges found the winner a master of the written word, communicating expertise, experience and knowledge in some of the most compelling garden writing any of us have read.  Their pieces are authoritative, interesting, drive us to a desire to rush out and order every tree they recommend and avoid those they tell us will be no good.  We have no doubt these articles will soon be collected in a must-have-for-all-gardeners book”.

Also shortlisted for the award:

  • Drew Swainston
  • Alexander Smith
  • Ben Thornton
  • Molly Blair
  • Olivia Drake

Garden Video of the Year

Winner: Alex Smith for Can You Be Self-Sufficient While Working a Full-Time Job?

The judges said, “The intended audience and purpose of video is stated at the start and it delivers! This content creator provides clear advice, attainable projects and shows real results. The video is entertaining and visually interesting throughout, with personality and humour whilst also highlighting a very relatable issue. This was a video that could make you laugh one minute and teach you a valuable lesson the next’.

Also shortlisted for the award:

  • Wildside – the story of a garden
  • The Power of Gardening
  • STIHL May Garden Guide with Jane Moore
  • Step inside Jihae Hwang’s ‘A letter from a million years past’ RHS garden full of medicinal plants
  • Can You Be Self-Sufficient While Working a Full-Time Job?

Digital Gardening Writer of the Year

Winner: Val Bourne for Hartley Botanic

The judges said, “These sparkling posts stood out for their pacy, engaging and horticulturally-correct content. They were full of personality, easy to read and clearly written by somebody with an abiding love of plants, gardening and the natural world who spends a lot of time observing what’s happening. A well-judged sprinkling of humour was the icing on the cake. Although perhaps best known for their books and magazine writing, the winner has demonstrated a transfer of skills to digital writing for a well-known company in the gardening world”.

Also shortlisted for the award:

  • Daniel Masoliver
  • Barbara Segall
  • Greg Loades

Individual Social Media Influencer of the Year

Winner: Rekha Mistry

The judges said, “”The winner is engaging, informative and succinct, appealing both to beginners and more experienced gardeners with advice delivered in a warm, approachable way. Explanations are clear and simple, and made the judges want to go out and try things out themselves. The filming style is beautiful but natural, with a contemporary take.”

Also shortlisted for the award:

  • Anya Lautenbach
  • Rosy Hardy
  • Lee Burkhill
  • Simon Akeroyd

Brand Social Media Influencer of the Year

Winner: Borde Hill Garden

The judges said, “The winner of this category may or may not necessarily have the most followers – this one was chosen for their combination of beautiful photography and composition, authentic regular interaction with their audience and sound horticultural advice. Everything was delivered in a relatable and easy-to-understand way and provided a perfect snapshot of seasons. It was to the point and relevant. It has a good balance of people, plants and place”.

Also shortlisted for the award:

  • Garden Organic
  • The RHS
  • Gardens Illustrated
  • Dahlia Beach