There's always something that needs doing in the garden and now that the colder weather is here it's safe to cut back acers, vines and mid to late-summer flowering clematis without them 'bleeding' excessively. Hardwood cuttings can be taken now and are probably the simplest to do as they are taken from dormant deciduous trees and woody plants. Choose a pencil-thick stem of this year's growth and remove any unripened green growth at the tip. Make sure you cut just below a bud to give you a cutting between 10 and 15cm long. Rooting hormone applied at this stage will help. Push cuttings into a container filled with a mix of potting compost and perlite or coarse sand. Make sure that two thirds of the cutting is below the soil. Water in and place in a cold frame if you have one, and wait until spring.