An amazing winter wonderland - West Dean
Snow's melting, sun's returned, and I can't think of a better garden to visit than West Dean near Chichester in Sussex, particularly in the late afternoon, when the shadows are long and the spring bulbs are about to push up through acres of grass at this idyllic setting in the folds of the South Downs.
Former home of Edward James, the 100-acre estate supports a College of the same name dedicated to education in the arts and crafts (you can study many different subjects here from making stringed musical instruments to photography, bookbinding or metalwork!) and a garden that draws visitors from all over the world.
Harold Peto (of Iford Manor fame) designed the magnificent giant pergola (above), which always looks spectacular - even in winter - for this is when you can see just what an architectural feat it is, with its columns reflecting in the pools of water below.
Gertrude Jekyll also had an input here, with her wild water garden to the west of the main house, alongside the river Lavant, which meanders through the gardens. Her only other water garden is at Vann.
West Dean also has 35 acres of ornamental gardens, an arboretum and a superb Victorian walled kitchen garden, which is particularly memorable in summer with its fruit trees and magnificent herbaceous border which is ablaze with colour.
But for me, this garden is exceptional in winter, with the clear light and low sun in the sky, casting shadows across the landscape.
Also worth looking out for at West Dean are the special themed weekends that take place during the year - the Wholly Herbs event, the Chilli Fiesta, the Totally Tomato Show and the Apple Affair, when the displays are spectacular - do check the website for details - you won't be disappointed.