Now is the time to get your bulb planting finished. Shallow planting is one of the commonest reasons for failure in bulbs and to avoid this look at the packaging for a guide to planting depth, A useful rule-of thumb is to plant them at twice the depth of the bulbs diameter. Daffodil bulbs can be left in the ground when they have finished flowering and their leaves have shrivelled but tulips sometimes need to be moved to a warm place to ripen the bulbs. This can be made easier by planting them in the ground in the sort of baskets that are used for water plants. The whole basket can then be moved to a hot spot in the summer to ripen off. You will then be able to re use the containers so that it is easier to ring the changes as soon as the bulbs have finished flowering. If you are using a peat-based compost, it is a good idea to add about 20% bark to the mix for bulbs in containers. New hedges, fruit trees and for that matter any other bare-rooted trees or shrubs should be planted now while the soil is reasonably warm, however they may not be available from the grower until they have shed their leaves, except for evergreens such as conifers. Roses should be cut back in the autumn to prevent the wind from rocking them about too much, but leave detailed, hard pruning until the spring. As the leaves fall off pick them up and burn them or put them in your green wheelie-bin. This will reduce the likelihood of black-spot spores from them infecting next year’s new growth. Avoid planting in wet sticky soils if possible and don’t cram the roots into too small a hole. Spread them out as much as possible. If you are adding mushroom or potting compost or composted bark to the planting hole, mix it with the soil you have dug out, rather than planting the tree or shrub in pure compost. In the greenhouse you may get the opportunity to remove all plants and fumigate the house to kill off spider-mites and whitefly. If you do, don’t then re-introduce them by immediately returning infected plants to the house. These may need to be sprayed before putting them in again. Many insecticides only kill the adults, leaving un-hatched eggs to cause a new build-up of the pest, so spray again in a couple of weeks time when the eggs have hatched. If you are an organic gardener and have these particular pests you should consider introducing predators when temperatures rise again. These are widely advertised in the gardening press and in good garden centres. Lawns and rock gardens do not like being swamped by falling leaves, so remove leaf litter whenever possible and compost the leaves. Tree leaves are inclined to rot less quickly than other garden waste, so do not add too many to an ordinary compost heap at any one time. Make a separate pile or put them into plastic bags with a few air holes and allow them to rot into leaf-mould at their own speed. There are inoculants that can be added to both leaves and compost heaps to speed up the rotting process, which can be obtained from garden-centres. The birds are having a wonderful at the moment with all the red berries in abundance. Traditionally, an autumn with so many berries heralds a very cold winter. Keep an eye on the weather if you have tender or half-hardy patio plants and protect them if necessary should we have a series of low temperatures.