What to do
* Terracotta pots that have been standing in saucers of water through autumn should now be liberated from them. Raise pots on small, even blocks of wood to improve drainage.
* Plant roses, fruit trees and new hedges.
* In the bloated interval from now until spring, order seeds. Include at least three things you've never grown before. I recommend the medium height Antirrhinum 'Black Prince' (Thompson & Morgan £2.69) and the trailing Nasturtium 'Crimson Emperor' (Thompson & Morgan £1.99) which is Flower of the Year in T&M's catalogue.
* Prune vines when the leaves have all dropped. Cut back all side growths to within one or two dormant buds from the main stem. Peel loose shreds of bark from vines growing under cover. Pruning must be completed before the end of the month, when the sap will start to rise again.
* Keep houseplants dryish and potted bulbs dampish.
What to buy
* For clearing leaves, carting stuff to the compost heap (or the tip) you need a good, strong bag. I like the kind that has a stiff band to thread round the top, so the bag stays wide open while you are chucking stuff into it. Mr Fothergill supplies tough bags with handles: standard size 46cm x 60cm (code 43844, £10.95), or large size 46cm x 80cm (code 43798, £12.95). To order, call 0845 371 0518 or go to atmr-fothergills.co.uk