Spring bulb catalogues are always lying about everywhere. All with Geordie’s indecipherable writing and scribbles in most margins. I try to request a few specific choices of bulbs to include in the order, for the rose arbour for example, but in true husbandly fashion he does not seem to hear a word.

Before Geordie and I took on Highclere, the gardens here had largely disappeared. Both the First World War and Second World War took their toll. The once admired rare azaleas, borders and American Gardens on the east lawn, the remains of the 18thcentury woodland garden, the walled gardens all faded. There were of course far fewer people to work here – it was simply the consequences of changing times and economics as well as the struggle for many stately homes to find a new raison d’être in modern times.

Geordie and I decided that part of our contribution to the estate would be to rebuild the gardens although in a more practical and less labour-intensive format than previously. Today, visitors and guests can once more wander along meandering paths through glades and herbaceous borders, discover the wildflowers and cleared avenues, as well as old terraces and an Etruscan temple.

Two decades later these new and old gardens give many moments and walks of pleasure to visitors as well as ourselves. It has been, and still is, an entirely joyful journey and I have even been able to write about it and share it through photographs where once there was very little to talk about.

The catalogues help Geordie plan his “time lapse” planting, bulbs which offer colour and shape from the earliest months to late summer.

In the last two decades we have planted about 200,000 bulbs from snow drops and croci, daffodils, camassia, chionodoxa, frittilarias and alliums. January to March is the time we place the orders for bulbs to increase the planting for next autumn and for additional swathes of bulbs for spring 2025.

I am always so thrilled to see the first snowdrops appear and whilst I want to enjoy each day, I am impatient for the determined crocus: clumps of misty lavender, delicately lined white and the deepest purples with bright yellow stamens. It is always so lovely to start seeing colour in the garden again.

The most well-known of spring bulbs though, must be the daffodil – such positive light affirming yellows which reflect the sun and are a welcome sight amongst the sparse brown limbed shrubs and trees. They are symbols of creativity, energy, resilience, forgiveness and vitality. We have scattered many varieties throughout the wilder areas, from double headed ones, white ones and scented narcissi. Ones which welcome us early and others that extend towards cherry blossom time. Their huge advantage is that they grow anywhere and are not eaten by deer or small mammals.

Daffodils mark a time of new beginnings and rebirth and are amazingly resilient, popping up year after year. Despite being native to the warmer climes of southern Europe, they are planted in swathes across the UK and are the national symbol of Wales.

March weather is always full of promise and rain. The month begins on March 1st with a day of celebration in Wales to mark the achievements and miracles of St. David who lived in the 12th century. St. David grew to fame as a teacher and is said to have lived to 100 years old. Unlike many other saints, he died of natural causes on March 1st, around 600AD. His last words to his followers came from a sermon he gave on the previous Sunday:

‘Be joyful, keep the faith, and do the little things that you have heard and seen me do.’