There are two sorts of people in the world: those who love gardening and those who don't.
I need to define that those who love gardening don't just appreciate gardens. They find that digging, planting, harvesting, watering, mulching and, yes, weeding, is as essential to their existence as breathing, eating and laughing. It's that ingrained.
I have a confession. If you invited me to your home, the first thing I would look for, after maybe a pet, would be that other sign of life: flowers, herbs, any greenery in your domain.
I'm most interested in gardens that are an extension of a person's personality and life. Your castle could have every up-to-date gadget, amazing kitchen or smashing view but, if there is no flora, I'd leave your perfectly lovely home with the feeling something's missing.
But then again, it's not my home.
Another great thing about any garden you have created and cared for is that it is as unique as a fingerprint. Your fingerprint.
If you are anything like me, you could talk gardens until the cows come home. Actually, some of you might have a cow or two in your patch. But, we'll get to that later.
First, I'd like to invite you into my garden. To reel in my rambling, I have devised a few questions to stop myself wandering off the path.
Head gardener: Deb Richards
Where's the patch?: Wallsend
How old is your garden?: About 15 years
Garden's brief history: I bought my little weatherboard house about 15 years ago. I was sold mainly on the front garden, which had a massive frangipani tree (since gone to garden heaven owing to rampant branch rot). The house was built about 100 years or so ago. When I moved in I couldn't understand why there were slabs of sandstone set in random places around the yard. The mystery was solved when a neighbour showed me an old photo of the place that was originally on my plot. It was a double-storey building and other neighbours tell me it was a pub back in the day when Wallsend was full of miners ... and pubs. When I saw the photo I understood the stones' patterns. They were outside the pub's main doors. Another neighbour pointed out a circular ridge on the ground that was the site of the pub's well. It was filled in years ago. I love thinking about what, or who, is buried in it.
What's your garden's vibe?: Chaotic cottage, fancy floral.
First garden memory: My dad showing me how to pot plants for my cubby house.
Favourite garden implement: A long stick with a hook used to pull down the high branches of the lemon tree to retrieve the fruit. I also love my sturdy draw-string bag. My sister-in-law made it from army surplus tent canvas.
Gnomes: yes or no? Yes. My collection includes all shapes and sizes. My favourites are two Richmond gnomes whose names are Big Richo and Little Richo. They are the two Tigers in my patch.
Garden gurus: Edna Walling, Costa Georgiadis and Monty Don.
What's up in the garden this week?: I'm obsessed with planting flower seedlings in Annalisa Italian tomato tins. The labels are in retro colours and show a Gina Lollobrigida-style lady carrying, you guessed it, tomatoes. What's not to love? I'm a bit over tomato-based meals, but, that's amore. Pasta sauce anyone?
Dream garden addition: I'd love a cast iron Victorian garden fountain. I'd also dig an original tyre swan. I have a concrete swan, but a tyre one would be very special.
Next project: Finding the perfect plants for the deeply shaded southern side of my patch. I'm also trying to find a few spare sunny spots for a couple of new bare-rooted roses. You can't have too many roses.