Although the weather is still not *perfect*, we’ve definitely come out of winter and hibernation. The woodburner is on less these days, our heaters are only switched on to get rid of the early morning chill, and we’ve even had a window or two open. The garden, which last year was largely a building site, is now starting to look a whole lot more presentable – and we are excited that this will hopefully be our big project this year. We can’t do anything major until our boundaries have been rubber-stamped by our local land registry, but this is now all in hand and we are starting to think about funky boundary walls and fency and outdoor lighting and seating and all sorts of lovely stuff, which will make summer all the more special.

In the meantime, we’ve decided to do what we can to spruce things up. New bulbs and plants have been planted up and these are starting to grow, adding some colour in between the potted (for now) bamboos and shrubs. We’ve moved our two wisteria plants to the base of the huge wooden pole and these are now beginning to twist and curl and the first beautiful lilac fronds are beginning to to bud.

We’re renovating a gorgeous vintage wrought iron table and chair set, which we bought just after we moved here. It was white, but had previously been painted and the layers of hard paint were beginning to crack off and rusting had started – I did a quick made-do spray paint job, but didn’t prep properly. Two years later, it’s in a bit of a sorry state, so the long job of painstakingly removing all of the cracking layers of old paint (the spray paint has now faded) and sanding off the rust has started. I did originally spray it a dark charcoal, but as it’s faded, the original white has started to be exposed and it just looks a bit of a mess, so we’ve taken the decision that we’ll restore it to its former white glory. Hopefully, the weather this weekend will be kind and we’ll be able to crack on with the table and chairs.

But, we wanted some quick pops of colour over Easter weekend, so we raided our now-quite extensive collection of spray paints and got going on a variety of objects which are now dotted around the garden.

First up, was a bird box which we bought years ago from David Gavin Design in West Didsbury. It’s a metal box and it’s safe to say, we’ve never had a bird come near it, so we decided it had to be made a little more attractive for our feathered Istrian friends. A can of bright turquoise has certainly spruced it up, and it now matches our solar lanterns in the tree…

We had three plastic “stools” – at least, this is what we’ve always used them for – which were bought years ago in Habitat, and brought out with all of our belongings. They’ve always been outside and so were a bit weather battered, a bit faded in places, full of water (as they come part) and again, in a pretty sorry state. As the general idea was to create  immediate colour in the garden, I opted for spraying them different colours – one the turquoise of the bird box, the second a tangerine orange and the third, a sunshine yellow. Again, what a difference for next to nothing, cost-wise…

Before the spray paint...

Before the spray paint…

AFTER...

After the spray paint…

We’re trying to get a bit more cohesion in the garden, colour-wise.Everything we brought over with us, was a bit mix and match, as never really had a plan back in our Manchester garden. So, lanterns are coming out of storage and all getting a make-over too…

New lease of life for the lanterns...

New lease of life for the lanterns…

Even the rusty old watering can has been blinged up 😉

We’re also going to be creating lots of little nooks and crannies and “secret” areas in and around the garden, and so are in the process of collecting some interesting objects to secrete away, and be half-hidden, amongst foliage.

Ms Flamingo : Pretty in Pink

Ms Flamingo : Pretty in Pink

The Buddha in the bamboos....

The Buddha in the bamboos….

We’re crossing our fingers that the weather now starts to be consistently warm and sunny, so that the proper riot of colour we’ve been planting, starts to emerge – and so that we can finish the first phase of the Garden Project…