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Winners 2021

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The Garden Media Guild Awards 2021:  Awards Winners

Previous winners:  2020|2019|2018|2017|2016|2015|2014|2013|2012

Many congratulations to all winners

Lifetime Achievement Award 2021

Sponsored by Candide

Awarded to - Graham Rice


1 The Peter Seabrook Practical Book of the Year 

Sponsored by Roses UK


 Winner - Carolyn Dunster for Cut & Dry

Judges' Comments 

“The judges were faced with a herculean task in deciding a winner from such a high quality and diverse range of Practical Books. After long deliberation they decided that Carolyn Dunster’s book “Cut and Dry” is the clear winner. The book is filled with beautiful and haunting photographs of many different and unusual varieties of plants to cut and dry. It covers step by step  techniques of all aspects of growing, drying, styling, and arranging dried flowers in a contemporary and imaginative way. A book that is both practical and inspiring and covers a topic that is undergoing a renaissance with an emphasis on reducing waste and the sustainability in the cut flower industry"





2 garden book of the year

Sponsored by Borde Hill Garden



Winner - Luke Keogh for The Wardian Case 



Judges' Comments 

'The Wardian Case by Luke Keogh is a very rare thing – a work of academic substance and credibility, which is beautifully written while being accessible and fun to read. The extensive research tells an engaging tale of just how enormously the Wardian Case changed the landscape of not only nineteenth century gardens, but also the greenscapes, both exterior and interior, we all enjoy today. This now defunct box – the original flatpack - was such a simple construction yet it changed the face of horticulture and trade throughout the world.
The book is also a thoroughly good read, tracing the bittersweet history of the Case and revealing how impactful it is in our modern world today. Comprising a functional history of the case as well as a consideration of its impact on plant collection, trade and cultivation, Keogh addresses pertinent issues relevant to current horticultural and heritage concerns, including the case’s contribution to colonial endeavours and empire building, and the issues which arose from its increased use, such as biosecurity problems.
In a wide ranging array of excellent books, The Wardian Case stood out as being many things: in depth, accurate, entertaining and, above all, an outstanding achievement of true horticultural and historical research which was thoroughly enjoyed by all the judges'

3 garden publication or garden section of the year

Sponsored by Nemasys/Nemaslug

Winner - Bloom


Judges' Comments

The contemporary format of Bloom – its matt covers featuring one gorgeous wrap-round image uncluttered by cover lines, and its superior paper quality, muted colour palette and adventurous use of typography and graphics ¬¬– lifted this magazine above the competition.

We felt this inspiring "magazine to keep" was redefining the subject of gardening and stretching boundaries to draw in a wider, potentially younger, readership of nature enthusiasts and flat dwellers who long to nurture something green and growing. Alongside seasonal advice on what to sow and grow and in-depth articles on genera, there were stimulating forays into the natural world that encouraged the reader to look up and beyond the garden.

The mix of photography, full-page illustrations, and labelled graphics in planting recipes reflected the constant change of pace of this entertaining and illuminating magazine. Articles ranged from the practical – windowsill crops, and hazel structures for the garden – to the intriguing: the communication networks of fungi, nature and mindfulness, and the techniques of plant breeders. We felt there was something for everyone here: timely, well-researched material with some new perspectives for seasoned gardeners, and innovative pieces on seaweed identification, plant photography, and food foraging in flower beds for anyone enticed into its pages.


4 The Dr David Hessayon Garden Columnist of the Year 

Sponsored by Marshalls



Winner - Roy Lancaster

Judges' Comments

Arriving at the shortlist for this category was a tough wrangle with some excellent columnists just missing the cut. But we felt the five nominees shared something in common: a compelling enthusiasm for their subject that leaps off the page and carries the reader along. In this skill, our winner leads the way with a column that celebrates a life-long passion for horticulture. The judges agreed that his experience and knowledge of plants and how they grow is formidable, and his ability to capture the excitement of discovery made us want to rush out and meet these plants for ourselves. Any type of gardener from a newbie to seasoned professional would benefit from reading his exploration of gardens. We also enjoyed the format of the column – ‘a plantsman’s notebook’ – which mines the writer’s jottings on plants he’s seen and grown since 1952, and takes the reader with him into the pages of his notebooks.


5 practical journalist of the year

Sponsored by Denmans Garden


Winner - Benedict Vanheems

 Judges' Comments 

There were some extremely talented and knowledgeable journalists in this category consisting of 18 candidates which made it a real challenge for the judges to pick an outright winner. After careful and thorough consideration, the judges chose Benedict Vanheems as they felt his passion for horticulture and in particular kitchen gardening really shone through the technical information, and was delivered in a relaxed, friendly and informal style. His chosen topics clearly demonstrated an expertise underpinned with practical hands-on experience.
We feel Benedict has exceptional talent for picking mainstream horticultural topics and putting a unique spin on how to approach them in the garden. This refreshing take on kitchen garden subjects transforms every article into an informative and inspiring read.
His articles are accessible to everyone, engaging and cover a diverse range of subjects within the kitchen gardening genre. The information is shared by Benedict using a practical narrative and is doable for anyone, involving easy to follow problem-solving recommendations and solutions. His articles are also accompanied with beautiful, inspiring photos with well written captions and explanations. Anyone who reads Benedict's articles can’t help but feel inspired and motivated to get out into the garden and put his advice and suggestions into practice. A very worthy winner.



6 journalist of the year

Sponsored by Johnsons Lawn Seed


Winner - Tom Brown

Judges' Comments

Tom’s style is conversational and upbeat but doesn't dumb down the technical bits. He effortlessly passes on his gardening knowledge gained over the past 20-years as a hands-on gardener to make the features interesting to both those new to gardening and experienced gardeners seeking more advanced information. It’s clear that Tom knows his plants and subject matter inside out and his writing draws you into the feature. Snippets of information and handy hints and tips are dotted through the narrative, plus a sprinkling of humour!
His features are bang up to date, especially his Bold and Beautiful article designed around combinations of exotic plants, illustrating a growing trend for container gardening. Bringing houseplants out during warmer climes is not new but Tom has put a modern twist on it using a range of popular tender plants grouped together to encourage and inspire people to get involved in growing.

7 The Beth Chatto Environmental Award

Sponsored by Beth Chatto Education Trust



Winner - Lauren Hall


Judges' Comments

It was great to see a strong set of entries for this really important category, covering a variety of critical environmental issues. It was also encouraging to see that there was more than one entry that focused on the issue of using peat. Gardening is at its very heart a way to work with nature to create beautiful design, wholesome food, and green spaces that support health, culture, and wildlife. Yet, all too often, the products that are offered to the gardener are counter to this relationship. One of the very worst on the market is peat, and it's only been through educating the public on its perils that any action has been taken to remove it from use. Consumer awareness and pressure from the public have lead to the ban on peat from 2030. Lauren Hall's captivating piece plays into that education and is presented in a way to reach a large audience and visually show the impacts of peat harvesting on the environment. She makes clear the issues and also communicates some of the solutions that are being explored to heal peat bogs, support industry, and to keep gardening green.


8 the gordon rae photographer of the year award

Sponsored by Candide

Winner - Jason Ingram

Judges' Comments

Jason has demonstrated a high degree of skill across all of his images and has shown an ability to shoot both beautiful close-up plant portraits and wide garden shots with sympathetic lighting and precise compositions. This is a photographer who clearly understands and loves gardens. His portfolio shows diversity of subject matter and approach. Finally, and this is not to be underestimated, Jason’s post processing is also subtle and unobtrusive.

9 Features Photographer of the Year

Sponsored by Alitex

Winner - Annie Green-Armytage

Judges' Comments

In the story, Style and Grace, Annie Green-Armytage’s photography displays the qualities needed to turn a casual browser into magazine buyer: lighting that flatters the setting; compositions that are full of interest without being fussy; colours that are arresting without being vulgar. The photography is as charming as the setting, where wide spaces are treated with as much sensitivity as more intimate corners of the garden.The portrait of the owners and their dog is sincere and natural— a skill in its own right. Congratulations, Annie.

10 Portfolio Photographer of the Year Award

Sponsored by Field Studies Council Publications

Winner - Mimi Connolly

Judges' Comments

This set of images works on every level - a strong theme, no need for captions and I  liked the way the water dominates - a really original approach. A lovely portfolio.

11 The Roy Lancaster TV Broadcast of the Year Award

Sponsored by The Horticultural Trades Association

Winner - Michael Perry - Steph’s Packed Lunch

Judges' Comments

Among the many high-quality entries, this one stood out for being fun, unusual and informative. The piece immediately grabbed our attention and kept our curiosity piqued until the very end, as Michael Perry introduced a cornucopia of sensory plants. A few were relatively well known – such as the different scented mints – but many others were real eye-openers, like the voodoo lily that smells of drains and the beef-and-onion plant. The star of the show had to be the miracle berry, which changes sour flavours to sweet. Michael added little snippets of horticulture and science to his intros, making the piece both entertaining and educational. All in all, a brilliant broad-appeal broadcast and a great introduction to the weird and wonderful world of plants.

12 Radio Broadcast or Podcast of the Year

Sponsored by Evergreen Garden Care

Winner - Grow, Cook, Eat, Arrange with Sarah Raven and Arthur Parkinson

Judges' Comments

The podcast was full of timely and useful gardening information and there was a lot to gain from listening to it. The topic was one that all listeners could relate to and it contained information for gardeners of all different levels. The judges also enjoyed the interaction between Sarah Raven and Arthur Parkinson, which added to its overall appeal. While all five shortlisted entries were in the running to win, the judges agreed that Grow, Cook, Eat, Arrange was the worthy winner of the Award.

13 The Alan Titchmarsh New Talent Award

Sponsored by Hayloft Plants

Winner - Sue Kent

Judges' Comments

This was a breakthrough year for gardening media in showing the breadth of formats now readily available to and popular with an increasingly engaged audience. While TV programmes and print features or columns remain a key way to share knowledge and ideas, the newcomer entries showed the power and immediacy of other formats in creating compelling content. From podcasts, webinars and digital editions to live streaming, social media and blogging platforms, entrants to gardening media can now find the approach that best suits them – and their audiences.

But above all, in a crowded media landscape, the standout content creators remain those who can marry both knowledge and trust with great creativity and personality.

And so to our winner – a hugely engaging presenter with real star quality. Her pieces were instantly engaging, interesting, fun and informative. She comes at gardening from an angle new to many of us but that is also completely relatable.

At a time when it’s vital that the gardening media represents the widest range of experiences and lifestyles, our winner connects immediately with the audience through her infectious enthusiasm for the subject and her zest for life – and leads viewers to gain a greater understanding of the experience of living with upper limb difference through this shared passion.

Within the first 10 seconds of her debut film on Gardeners’ World, a star was born. The winner is, of course, Sue Kent.

14 Blog or Vlog of the Year

Sponsored by Garden Press Event

Winner - Agents of Field

Judges' Comments

In this highly competitive category, with 22 entrants that excelled in different areas and ways, the winner of The Blog or Vlog of the year is the Agents of Field YouTube Channel. It was a unanimous choice for the judges, who thought the vlog run by Ade Sellars from his kitchen garden in Suffolk was entertaining, well presented, informative and professionally filmed, with his background in TV clearly benefiting the production. Running at just over 7 minutes each, the pieces were just the right length, well-judged for their target audience and were a nice balance of diary and practical instructions, with Ade happy to share his mistakes as well as his successes

15 Website of the Year

Sponsored by Honda

Winner - BBC

Judges' Comments 

The judges decided that the winning website shone in its creativity and effectiveness.  This website is accurate, informative and accessible.  What made it stand out above the entrants is that it is attractive to those new to gardening and those with more experience.  The website has a good mix of written and audio visual content giving it variety and interest in its format.  The judges particularly liked that the focus of this website is all things gardening which makes sure it is at its heart, a comprehensive gardening resource.

16 Social Media Influencer of the Year

Sponsored by STIHL

Winner - Ann-Marie Powell

Judges' Comments

Our winner of the Social Media Influencer of the Year category is Anne-Marie Powell and her My Real Garden initiative. We loved how Anne-Marie shared the honest highs and lows of her own plot with the worldwide online gardening community, genuinely connecting with others and influencing them to be proud of and share their outdoor spaces – warts and all.
A highlight of My Real Garden’s is how it links with other forms of media – there’s a lot of creativity with different types of posts and a real spontaneity that all the best social media should have. This is one of the things that set it apart from other entries in the category. And while My Real Garden was born out of lockdown, it’s still active and lively as ever, having created a real swell of interest, and a genuine conversation of what gardens and gardening mean right now – it had, and continues to have, genuine influence. The story also extends beyond social media, with a My Real Garden book created to raise money for the charity Greenfingers. My Real Garden really has influenced, capturing the hearts of many.

17 Cover of the Year

Sponsored by Cobra Garden Machinery

Winner - The Botanics

Judges' Comments

While there were some very strong contenders in this category, the judges unanimously chose this entry as their winner. The bold use of bare space, the striking beauty of the image, and the brave colour theme all combine to make this a truly eye-catching and memorable cover. Additionally, the confidently placed coverlines mirror the tone of the magazine, and the microscopic detail of the seed reflects the comprehensive objectives of the Royal Botanic Garden. All in all, an exemplary example of how to conceive and execute the perfect cover.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Awarded to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution throughout their lifetime to our profession. This award is in the gift of the GMG Committee

The previous winners are:

1993 Peter Seabrook; 1994 Fred Whitsey; 1995 Graham Stuart-Thomas; 1996 Rosemary Verey; 1997 Christopher Lloyd; 1998 Beth Chatto; 1999 Penelope Hobhouse; 2000 Geoff Amos; 2001 Jerry Harpur; 2002 Roy Lancaster; 2003 Joy Larkcom; 2004 Alan Titchmarsh; 2005 Dr David Hessayon; 2006 Geoffrey Smith; 2007 Ken Muir; 2008 Michael Warren
2009 Peter Beales; 2010 Andrew Lawson; 2011 John Brookes & Nigel Colborn; 2012 Jekka McVicar; 2013 Stefan Buczacki; 2014 Christopher Brickell; 2015 Adrian Bloom; 2016 Jim McColl; 2017 Richard Jackson; 2018 Gary Rogers; 2019 Carol Klein; 2020 Anna Pavord 2021 Graham Rice

Sponsored by Candide



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