With cooler and rainy weather, and shorter days, gardening is not what it was a few months ago. It is more comfortable to stay inside when the weather is not so pleasant. Besides, gardening when the garden is too wet gets muddy, and can damage lawns and bedding areas. Even while the weather is pleasant, there is not enough daylight left to get much done at the end of the day.
The good news is that gardening is not as demanding in autumn and winter as during spring and summer. Plants are either dormant or are growing only minimally. Pruning and hedging is therefore not so necessary. Lawns likewise do not need to be mown as often. Without much blooming, there is less need for deadheading. With rain bringing more moisture than the garden needs, and cooler temperatures inhibiting evaporation to take moisture away, watering is rarely a concern.
The bad news is that there are a few things than should be done in autumn and winter that should not be delayed to spring. For example, early spring blooming bulbs should be planted as they become available in nurseries so that they can get a good chill through winter and disperse their roots as soon as possible. Also, evergreen trees that may be a bit awkward on their trunks should be staked before winter winds. (Deciduous trees do not get blown around much without their foliage.)
Eventually, or sooner, the weather will get cold enough to necessitate protection from frost. Marginal plants are probably safe under eaves or taller evergreen trees. Sensitive plants that are not in pots that can be moved to shelter should be tented when threatened by frost. Tenting can be as simple as tarps suspended above the foliage by stakes, and only needs to shelter plants from exposure.
As deciduous fruit trees lose their foliage, they will be ready for winter pruning. This is very important for apricot, peach, cherry, nectarine, plum, prune, apple, pear and related trees, since they should not be pruned once they start to bloom in spring. Maples and birches should also be pruned while completely dormant in winter, since they bleed so profusely if pruned in spring or summer.
Weed seedlings may start to appear with winter rain. They do not grow as rapidly now as weeds do in spring, but have a sneaky way of growing in more places because of the uniform availability of water in places that would be dry without rain. Fortunately, they are easy to pull while the soil is damp. Seedlings of any desirable plants should be identified first so that they can be distinguished from weed seedlings and not pulled.
Falling leaves should be raked from lawns and ground cover, not because they are unappealing in the garden, but because they block out sunlight and promote rot. Raking should not be done immediately after rain though, since lawn and ground cover are so easily damaged while soil is wet and muddy.