THE GHASTLY time has come to bring dracenas, palms, orchids, etc., indoors for the winter, and Good Luck.

People with the smallest houses or apartments naturally have the largest and most numerous plants.

House plants are like books. They just somehow keep coming in.

A friend of mine takes her plants and soaks them completely under water for half an hour, on the theory that the bugs either drown or abandon ship.

Now my purple-stem taro has some mealy bugs that I think live down in the bulb itself. All summer outdoors there are spiders and other beasts to eat them.

"Ha," I say every May, "the natual predators have rid us of the mealy bugs."

And every winter they are, needless to say, back.And they flourish exceedingly along about the end of February.

One thing I do know. It is worth thinking what to put under the pots of plants that come indoors for the winter. Large enamel tin plates are fine, but there is not point thinking, as gardeners sometimes do, "Why, I will only be watering this thing once a month, and then I can lug it in the kitchen, so I don't really need to go out and but a large saucer of anything."

You wind up watering the plants right where they are. And you do need a saucer or plate. And it does need to be a big enough to accumulate a cup or two of water.

Many people throw house plants out in the trash early in October. Many people offer them (the same thing) to friends.

Once a fellow offered me some "pot plants" he had been growing along for some time in his greenhouse. He brought them round in a truck. I was not present when they arrived.

The grapefruit trees, I well remember, were 9-feet high. My advice is to measure your ceilings or pretend you're deaf. If you get stuck with a monster, water it carefully, and pray for spring.

I have never seen so much fruit on the dogwoods as this year, and I expect fall coloration of the leaves to be excellent. There are rare years in which even trees like hackberries turn splendid colors (a piercing yellow-green in the case of the hackberry) though in ordinary falls they are not showy at all.

And I suspect this will be one of those rare years.

Just now I have taken against several plants.

The baptisia has flopped here and there. Its foliage remains ornamental till the last, but old plants neet staking. I shall get rid of the baptisia. But of course winter will come before I do it, and next spring I will be out there gazing at the spot and wishing the fine leaves would hurry up and sprout. t

This year the hostas had a lot of slugs -- usually slugs do not eat mine for some reason -- so their leaves were far shabbier than usual. Since this was their year for shab, natually it was also their year to grow three times as large as formerly. Just to make certain that no eye could miss their disreputable appearance.

My campaign of past years against the plantain, one of the most cheerful and forgiving of weeds, which takes no offense at being pulled out by the bushel, has resulted in a severe shortage of them.

That was the point of pulling it out for five years, of course. Still, now that it's practically vanished, I worry. Perhaps something terrible has happened to the soil? It never vanished before.

Everyone, I assume, is busy planting snowdrops, hyacinths, grape hyacinths, daffodils, brodiaeas, alliums, crocuses and all the other goodies of Holland except tulips (which are best planted in November). I must say I have not noticed that early planting of tulips hurst them, however.

Certain climbing roses are waving about with shoots 15-feet long. These should be pruned back to manageable lenths, so they do not whip about all winter. They should also be tied in, not that one gardener in 20 will do it. When they are in bloom, you wonder why they do not cover every fence in the world. If you prune them a few times, you will know why.