The holidays are in full swing and we're all enjoying the summer. How are those gardens?
Are they everything you want them to be?
In summer gardens are just the best place to hang out.
They are many things to different people.
The kids love the sun but they need the shade, too.
They need soft, well-irrigated and well-fertilised lawns so that all those falls have soft landings.
Us big kids need great outdoor entertainment - maybe an outdoor kitchen, some built-in loungers or a day bed so you can relax in style and comfort.
How about an outdoor bar next to the barbecue?
The choices are endless.
Pools are a great addition to any garden, especially as summer temperatures soar into the mid-30s.
There's nothing quite like a refreshing dip in the pool, river or the sea on those sweltering summer days. We all need somewhere to chill out and relax, and, after a stressful year, sometimes more than ever.
The strains of the previous year have all caught up with us and are now in the process, I hope, of being dealt with so that this new year brings clarity and freshness.
I see many gardens every day and sometimes I like to get away from gardening.
I head to wild back country for a change of scene.
I adore nature and it is where I get much of my inspiration for my native gardens.
I love seeing all the plants I specify in my gardens in the real world where there is no irrigation, no fertiliser and no-one to care for them.
We are all fortunate to have such wonderful free access to the Marlborough Sounds, the rivers and lakes of the region where we can enjoy our summer outdoors in the wild. Head out yonder and get some inspiration for yourself.
Feel the freedom of vast open spaces, the beauty of nature and think how you can incorporate some of mother nature's designs into your gardens.
It's a new year and with it comes expectations of the times ahead - time for our dreams to be realised.
I wish all my readers a very prosperous and successful 2013.
The Marlborough Express