This winter has been very hard on the garden - it has been more like a chilly North American winter - frozen for 3 months, under snow for much of that; rather than the cold, breezy, wet winter we are used to.
My plants haven't liked it at all - most of the evergreens have given up and turned crispy, the more temperamental of my perennials have rotted under all that snow. It all looks a bit dismal. Even cool loving plants like the pulmonarias have pretty much died off. I try not to look too closely as I scuttle down to the workshop.
I am very aware that I can't keep doing that, for in 2 months time we need to have the garden looking OK as we are open to the public. It is never going to look like a show garden, it is a working garden and we do not have the staff numbers to keep it looking pristine and weed free. But it does really need to have some plants in it.
So Fiona and I got together and decided that we needed to replant whole swathes of the garden and that the only sensible way to do it was to get some plug plants and grown them on a bit in the tunnel - hoping that the garden warms up a bit by April.
So this is what the tunnel looks like. On the benches out of sight there are annual seedlings in trays to fill the gaps - sunflowers, cornflowers, larkspur.
I can only hope that we have a warm April and May so that the garden puts on a bit of green.
Hopefully by the opening in June it will look a bit more like this.