I spent a lovely couple of hours outside this afternoon, toiling away in the garden, under the glow of a red sky. I imagine, in many ways, that’s what living on Mars would be like.

But it wasn’t the Martian atmosphere, it was just the impending edge of Hurricane Ophelia and the dust and smoke kicked up from Europe. Still, it was pretty. And weird at the same time.

I was busy cutting things back today, trying to tame the garden that had got just a teensy-weensy bit out of control when the weather went through the hot then wet then hot phase a few months ago. Everything just grew like crazy times and we’ve just kind of left it. But now, as autumn is here and winter is just around the corner, it seems like the perfect time to give it a tidy and put it to bed, as it were.

The majority of my time was spent cutting back the vast number of ferns that inhabit the garden. We started out with one or two, and now they’re everywhere. They’ve self-seeded willy-nilly, so recently it’s become the done thing to go and remove all the fronds before they get to the point where they basically ejaculate seed all over the garden.

But honestly, I hacked back so much fern that I half expected to find Laura Dern elbow deep in a massive pile of shit and a triceratops looking a bit ill because it had eaten some bad berries.

As it was, what I did find was a previous untapped vein of iron – in the form of nails – which, presumably, had been dropped by next door when he was putting up the fence. I am in nail profit by about twenty to thirty of the buggers. One can only assume he dropped a bag of them and was so over-whelmed by the fern situation that he didn’t bother looking for any loose ones.

When it wasn’t ferns, it was rose bushes. You could tell it was rose bushes because my hands are lacerated, my arms are grazed and there’s a particularly nasty cut on my back as well, judging from the stinging pain when I was in the shower. What I like about our roses, apart from the fact that they seem to think they are incredibly threatened if the size of the thorns is anything to go by, is that because they’ve come from my mum, you really don’t know what you’re going to get.

The rose we planted at the bottom of the garden has gone mad. It’s huge. It’s practically a tree. It’s smaller now thanks to me and my secateurs, but there’s still a decent amount of cutting back to do. But one of the others has gone one better. It’s brought a friend with it, thanks to my mum’s unique horticultural approach.

Which is, basically, stick stuff in a pot and see what happens.

We have a rose, in the centre of which grows some holly. As though one or the other of the plants decided they weren’t prickly enough on their own and took on a partner to really up the blood-letting. Normally, she’s a bugger for getting a nettle into something and you just end up getting stung out of nowhere.

This makes a refreshing change.