Far from killing the plants all the spring flowering shrubs and bushes are now dormant, as they should be at this time of year. The Magnolias are in bud but those buds are tightly packed inside furry protective outer leaves and even the daffodils, which have been flowering by late January early February in the last few years, are only just showing a few inches of green shoot above ground.

"This cold snap is a positive sign for a real spring arriving at the expected time," said Gary. "Hopefully this will stop the seasonal blurring. A proper winter will be followed by a proper spring and, you never know, we might even get a decent summer this year." He explained that yet another positive sign is the strength of the garden's winter flowering shrubs.

"The Mahonia and Daphne are absolutely fantastic this year – full of pale pink and white flowers giving off the most amazing scent," said Gary.

The great news for Trewithen's visitors is that unlike the last few years when the garden's spring blooms have been at their peak during February, when the garden is closed, they look set to be at their absolute best when the garden re-opens on 1 March.

The cold will also give a massive boost to horticultural health by killing off the bugs and disease that caused so much trouble last year.

Gary said: "This is text book Mother Nature doing all the hard work for us. The frost will get into the soil breaking it down and killing the bugs and pests creating much better conditions for growth.

"It's such a welcome change after the last six year of mild winters. The last time we had cold like this was the winter of 2002/3 when the lowest temperature we recorded was minus 4."