Welcome to November, where in the last few days we have started to experience the beginning of a truly cold winter.

            Autumn leaf drop is well under way and as plants go dormant we are heading towards colder conditions of frost, ice and snow.

            As gardens go to a dormant state there are still jobs to do - this is still the time for cutting back and clearing up. 

           •We are now open on Sundays until Christmas from 11 am onwards

           • Now is the time to think about ordering Christmas advent rings and wreaths - phone our floristry department (0207 937 0481) to discuss your requirements.

           •Our selection of spring-flowering bulbs has been selling well with a large and varied selection of loose bulbs and pre-packaged colour-themed mixes for flowering next year

           •Our selection of tools from Spear & Jackson, the Kew Gardener collection, is one of the best available and has proved to be a great success with our landscapers and customers.        

           •Our cards from the Natural History Museum's Archivist collection are both beautiful and inexpensive and provide a lovely way to send a message with a floral gift. We have added ten new designs from Blume editions to add choices to our range which are equally as charming

           •We stock all the necessary components for irrigation systems from both Hozelock and Gardena

           •The box tree caterpillar continues to be a serious problem in this area. Check all your buxus plants and take action if necessary as soon as possible, because delay will result in you losing your favourite plants or topiary. Be aware that this problem will likely re-occur when the weather warms up again and that you should continue to monitor the situation. In addition buxus blight seems to have been exacerbated by the relatively mild winter - perhaps it is time to think of planting alternatives, such as ilex crenata

            •Think about removing leaves from lawns and borders as autumn gets under way - and cut back any perennials that may have finished for this year.

            •Watch out for the arrival of winter-flowering hellebores - long-flowering winter cheer that are a positive addition to any garden.

            Time to enjoy November evenings and possibly think of the next gardening year. Stay warm!

            Richard Hood