A FREELANCE photographer from Dorset has scooped the prestigious title of the Royal Horticultural Society Photographer of the Year 2012.

Josie Elias beat off thousands of entries from across the world to win the accolade for her snapshot of the Iris garden at Plantas Distintas in Marnes, Spain.

She said: “We stumbled on the garden quite by chance. I was particularly intrigued by the contrast of the gnarled old olive tree and colourful spring flowers.

“I felt I had to capture the scene and was encouraged by the nursery owners to enter the photograph into the RHS competition. I am very excited and honoured to have won.”

Josie, who only moved to Sherborne in September, is a freelance book editor and freelance photographer with Getty Images.

The next generation of Dorset talent was also recognised in the competition, as Jasmine Fry from Poole received a commendation for her entry in the under-11s category.