Anna Pavord

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Curly-leaved parsley may not have the best flavour, but it gives the prettiest effect

I have been working up in the Highlands for three weeks: no phone, no telly, no internet. I didn't miss any of those, since they don't play much part in life at home either. But, after the first 10 days, I did begin to miss the garden. The cottage I use in Wester Ross is miles up a track, with a marshy meadow on one side. Then mountains, fore and aft and, at night, stags roaring all round. On the deer fence, a wisp of honeysuckle clings grimly to the wire. Someone must once have got a crop of potatoes off this ground. And turnips. But now, just grass.

Weekend work: Time to plant trees and shrubs

WHAT TO DO

Weekend work: Time to plant grape vines

What to do

Weekend work: Time to cut back herbaceous perennials

What to do

Still going strong: With the warm air and moist ground, autumn gardens can provide the finest spread of all

The rich, still days that we so often get in the first half of October can provide the best conditions of the year, says Anna Pavord

Weekend work: Time to tie up climbers

What to do

Weekend work: Time to clear out summer bedding plants

What to do

Sow long: If you want a beautiful cuttings garden next summer, get those seeds in now

Annual flowers are profligate with their seed. Which is why, with very little effort now, you can collect free supplies to provide next year's flowers. This summer has been superb for both producing seed (plants have grown with tremendous vigour) and ripening it. I had an unusually peaceful session with the small, thin seedpods of larkspur, cracking them open and spilling the hard black seed on to a sheet of paper on the kitchen table.

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