Several kinds of ornamental plants can be started from softwood cuttings at this time of the year, including roses, crape myrtle, butterfly bush (Buddleia), forsythia, roseofsharon and English ivy.

A softwood cutting is one of this year's growth. It should be taken from the tip end of the stem, he about 8 inches long and have two or three nodes. A node is the little spot on the stem in between leaves. Remove all but the top three leaves.

Growth buds or roots develop more readily at the area of the node and it helps to made the cut for a cutting just belowa node.

It is important not to allow the cutting to dry out and wilt. If it does wilt, it may never root. Put the cutting between moist newspaper immediately after taking it. If it is kept moist and cool it can be held for a day or two before planting. But do this only if it is necessary to transport the cuttings from a distance.

The cutting can be planted in the ground outdoors in a lightly shaded place and an inverted glass jar placed overit; or it can be done in a pot and enclosed in a plastic bag is to maintain high humidity for the cutting and thus reduce moisture loss from the foliage.

Use of a rootpromoting hormone, such as Rootone or Hormodine, helps to speed rooting and may result in a higher percentage of rooted platns.

The cuttings should root in about three weeks. The rooted plants can spend the winter outdoors (planted in the ground in a protected spot) if the temperature doesn't go below zero, and if mulched heavily with oak leaves kept in place by a basket or wire.

Applies, peaches, plums and grapes should not be picked until they have ripened on the tree or vine. Peaches, for example, gain as much as 300 per cent in flavor during the last few days of maturation on the tree, according to specialists.

It is best to pick pears while the fruit is still firm. If allowed to fully ripen on the tree the grit cells are more noticeable.

As it ripens, the skin of the apple changes color. Yellow apples change from green to yellowwhite and red ones change from basic dullgreen undercolor to bright yellows and red.

Apples for storage should be picked a little early, just about when they get good color for their variety. Picked too green, they will shrivel, while those allowed to stay on the tree too long become mealy.