Leaves are falling rapidly, and wind and rain are on the increase. MOLLY MAID, the cleaning experts, suggest 10 top jobs this month to help protect your garden from the impending winter. Tender plants will need protecting from frost, winds and freezing rains. Move plants into the greenhouse or into a sheltered spot, but if you can't, it's worth wrapping plants or pots in situ.

Top 10 Garden Jobs:

  • Clear up fallen leaves – especially from lawns, ponds and beds.
  • Raise containers onto pot feet to prevent waterlogging.
  • Plant tulip bulbs for a spring display next year.
  • Prune roses to prevent wind-rock.
  • Plant out winter bedding.
  • Cover brassicas with netting if pigeons are a problem.
  • Insulate outdoor containers from frost – bubble wrap works well.
  • Stop winter moth damage to fruit trees using grease bands around the trunks.
  • Put out bird food to encourage winter birds in the garden.
  • Use seasonal bonfire – where this is allowed – to dispose of excess debris unfit for composting, but be careful not to disturb wildlife.

As the growing season ends and gardeners mow, snip and spade for the final time this fall, MOLLY MAID, the expert home cleaners, recommend that it's time to think of proper cleaning and storage of all garden equipment. A little preventative maintenance now can prevent frustration and expensive repair in the future. Proper maintenance also extends the life of tools and equipment and makes working with them easier and more efficient. You'll thank yourself as soon as spring arrives and your tools are clean, conditioned and ready for action!

Wooden Tool Parts:

  • Rinse or brush dirt off wooden handles.
  • Use fine sandpaper to remove any splinters.
  • Finish with a light coat of linseed oil.

Metal Tool Parts:

  • Use a wire brush to whisk off any dried dirt.
  • Sand with fine steel wool.
  • Sharpen all blades and cutting edges with a file.
  • Apply a light coat of WD-40 and store tools in a bucket of dry sand to prevent rust.