Emma Seward, garden wildlife photographer

Two bumblebees on pink toadflaxIf you moved to a hamlet named Golden Valley you might expect there would be a treasure trove to be found somewhere.

In Emma Seward’s case it was the abundance of wildlife in the garden of her former canal worker’s cottage.

The tiny settlement is an oasis sandwiched between Codnor and Riddings – backing on to part of the Cromford Canal.

The garden of the cutesy terraced cottage where she lives with her husband Andrew is therefore a haven for wildlife including woodpeckers, kingfishers, toads and frogs and all manner of butterflies and bees.

What could be better for a wildlife photographer with a passion for getting soil under her fingernails?

“We were hunting for a new home to rent and needed to be near Nottingham for Andrew’s work. My only stipulation was that we had to have a garden as I had just launched my new business selling prints and cards of my wildlife photographs.

“When I saw this place I knew it was perfect.

“The garden was very overgrown but in the 18 months we have been here I have overhauled it and planted it with flowers and shrubs which attract insects and birds.”

The 32-year-old self-taught photographer has also added plenty of nooks and crannies for the insects to hide away and provides plenty of food to attract the birds.

Then all she had to do was sit and wait for the wildlife to arrive and make sure she had her camera at the ready.

The pictures she has taken are all on her website http://www.emmasgarden.co.uk and are for sale as fine art prints and greetings cards.

She also has a blog and videos of some of the visitors to her garden.

The results of Emma’s work have been so stunning that she won a second prize and a highly commended in the Wildlife in the Garden section of the International Garden Photographer of the Year award in February and she has had pictures used on the BBC Earth website and the front page of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust magazine.

The most exciting interest in her work though has come from the BBC Gardeners’ World team.

She had a six-minute slot on the show last month explaining how easy it was to work with wildlife in the garden.

“They liked the fact that I have a very average normal garden yet I am able to attract enough wildlife to run a business. It really was an amazing experience and I had such fun. The crew arrived at 7am and didn’t leave until 4pm. It was a gloriously sunny day and the wildlife didn’t disappoint.

“Since the piece appeared on the programme I’ve had dozens of messages from people asking about plants for wildlife and twitter went mad for a bit.

“One of the best things is that a budding young wildlife photographer from Ripley has been in touch to ask me for advice and I am going to be taking her under my wing and giving her some guidance.”

Emma’s work is also being exhibited at the Whynot Gallery in Burton-upon-Trent and she says she will be looking to put it into other galleries in the region as the business grows. The exposure she has in the last year should certainly help her to achieve her ambitions.

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