The next few weeks offer a good opportunity to settle the garden down for winter because soon enough the long days of rain and the hustle and bustle of Christmas will descend on us.
Raking leaves is the most usual yard work at this time.
They can always be left in place as mulch around shrubs, but it's better for the grass to get leaves off the lawn.
People with vegetable gardens can use any unused space to pile leaves within a circle of wire netting. Most deciduous leaves rot easily into leaf mold, although broadleaf maple and oak leaves are slow. Wire netting can be quickly flattened when it's not in use and stored hanging on a shed wall.
Winter containers are one of the fun things to add to a front entrance, patio or deck. One of the flowering choices that bloom for ages in white or various pinks are the winter heathers (Erica carnea). These can easily be transplanted into the garden in spring.
So can the foliage ground-covers such as the brilliantly-leaved heucheras, the variegated periwinkles (Vinca cultivars) and the small-leaved silver lamiums.
More assertive additions to containers could be the taller ornamental grasses or dwarf conifers, especially the columnar ones like the golden Irish Yew.
There are variegated versions of the very hardy evergreen bush honeysuckles and also the golden form Baggsen's Gold.
Some of the less fragile Christmas ornaments look good added to a central container shrub.
Some gardeners like to include tulip bulbs in winter containers, putting
them in a little deeper than the smaller plants. About now many tulips are going on sale. They can be a terrific buy as a spring bonus for winter containers or flower beds.
Tulips can be planted all through November and still bloom at the normal time. This also applies to later spring and summer bloomers such as the ornamental alliums.
Hardy herbs are another container possibility. Containers are often in a very sheltered spot anyway and sage is not only hardy but also useful for turkey stuffing and other recipes. It also has very pretty leaves.
There's a golden variegated sage, a purple sage and the Tricolour sage, which combines green, white and pink.
If you have an outside garden, it's sometimes useful to look ahead and plant some of the lowgrowing winter-container types such as heucheras in spring, then in fall move them into a winter container.
When you tidy up the flower beds, it's good to leave seed heads on for the birds. As well, seed heads can look lovely in frost or snow.
All-season use of bird feeders can be tricky for folk in bear country. The time feeders are most needed (and safest) is in winter when the bears have gone into hibernation. Bears love to eat from feeders in their hungry season and aren't too gentle with anything they're feeding from. Unfortunately this also includes fruit trees and berry bushes.
Other work that makes next spring easier includes draining and storing hoses, bringing in bamboo canes before they split and other stakes before they rot.
Lawnmowers should be cleaned, the fuel drained and their batteries brought into a sheltered place.
Anne Marrison is happy to answer garden questions via email@example.com.