Early in April, just hours before tragic events sent us spiralling across the country, my sister and I spent a lovely sunny afternoon at Dyffryn Gardens, near Cardiff.
Here is a mostly wordless selection of my favourite pictures from that beautiful afternoon.
We loved these swathes of sunny daffodils that drifted along a gentle bank, and beneath the gnarled arms of an old spreading tree.
The deep purple of these hyacinths and primulas against the blue spring sky was wonderful.
And the magnolias… they were just breathtaking against the deep blue skies. It was the kind of day meant for walking beneath majestic magnolias, and as luck would have it, Dyffryn has a large collection of these trees to be admired.
This majestic weeping willow made my heart sing, spangled with sunshine and catkins, and formed one of my favourite scenes.
As we moved to the more formal areas of the garden, we were greeted by the intoxicating scent of beds of hyacinths; some sections planted with purple, others with cool white, accompanied by primroses and simple tulips in complementary colours.
There were many different tulips in small drifts in the walled gardens and massed in larger schemes by the balustrades and stonework of the House, all looking splendid.
It had been about five months since my last visit to these gardens; an entirely different display from the rich tones of autumn, and just as rewarding. A wonderful day, held carefully, separately, in my memory from the events that followed. I hope to return to these gardens in the summer, perhaps, and follow their progress through the seasons. I’m sure that I shall not be disappointed.