International Garden Photographer of the Year: Winning photos of nature's beauty

From grand vistas to colourful blooms up close - thousands of entries to the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition have been whittled down to a winning selection.

Below are some of the finalists - click to see the overall winner.

The competition's founder Philip Smith contributed to the accompanying text and audio.

This year, the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition attracted about 18,000 entries from all over the world.

Its categories cover a broad spectrum - from single plants and formal gardens, to green urban splashes and more wild natural landscapes.

The winning images are now on show at Kew Gardens in west London until 6 April - they then go on tour across England and Scotland.

This image below - February Morning in Our Garden from John Roger Palmour - stood out in the Beautiful Gardens category.

Extracting colour from wintry scenes can be difficult - but he managed to add vibrancy to the plants by carefully taking the shot into the light.

'February morning in our garden' by John Roger Palmour

This image of a very formal garden was taken in Scotland by Andrea Jones - she has called it One Man's Work.

She told the judges she waited several days to get the light right. She didn't want snow, but did want a wintry look.

'One man's work' by Andrea Jones

Jacky Hobbs saw red with this next image.

Taken in Sweden, she was driving past an orchard of red apples at harvest time and spotted this matching tractor.

'Seeing red' by Jacky Hobbs

This next atmospheric image from Duncan Herring is titled Web Spinners and Deer Stalkers. It won the Breathing Spaces category.

Taken in Bushey Park in southwest London one early morning, the photographer had been trying to spot deer during the rutting season.

But then he saw another photographer walking in the misty light amid the giant cobwebs.

'Web Spinners and Deer Stalkers' by Duncan Herring

Capturing a crisp morning sunrise, this photo - Twisted Path by Jenifer Bunnett - was taken at a nature reserve in Surrey.

'Twisted Path' by Jenifer Bunnett

These bright yellow tulips nestle in a meadow in eastern Europe - on the outer edge of the flowers' natural range.

Leonardo Battista's image Tulipa Sylvestris came first in the Wildflower Landscapes category.

Seen from above, individual flowers would have appeared inconsequential - but from below, with a fish-eye lens, there is drama, energy and a blousy waywardness.

'Tulipa silvestris' by Leonardo Battista

The next three photos come from the Greening the City category.

From a park in the United States, Cherry Blossom Cyclist was taken by Amanda Kleinman. The blurred bike adds dynamism to the purplish blooms.

'Cherry Blossom Cyclist' by Amanda Kleinman

David Thurston's Selfie for a City Girl is a bright, candid photo - and shows how important it is for this young woman to get herself in a photo with the flowers.

'Selfie for a city girl' by David Thurston

At first glance, you might wonder what is happening in this photo - Rainy Streets by Vanda Ralevska.

Closer inspection reveals that it's actually a reflection in a puddle - with great juxtaposition of the green and blue umbrella.

'Rainy Streets' by Vanda Ralevska

This is the winner of the Trees, Woods and Forests category.

Mark Gray's Mystic Forest, with a rocky stream and distinctive trees both close and far, has a slightly unearthly feel.

'Mystic Forest' by Mark Gray

This haunting image - Celestial Cypress - was taken in the Florida Everglades by Paul Marcellini.

He often works at night, paddling out in a canoe and using torchlight to illuminate his subject matter.

A long exposure has helped make the water appear much calmer than it was in reality.

'Celestial Cypress' by Paul Marcellini

All images subject to copyright.

Music in video from EMI Production Music.