As mentioned yesterday, I’ve been doing some work in the garden over the last few days. We’ve had beautiful weather here in Hertfordshire so I thought I’d make the most of it. I’m a novice gardener – pulling out the weeds and mowing the lawn has really been the full extent of my capabilities so far, but as a keen flower arranger I do know a little bit about flowers and shrubs at least.
The main problem with our garden is that it is completely overrun by brightly coloured plastic toys. I’d love to get one of those wooden fortress style climbing frames for the boys but a) I’m not sure it would actually fit in our garden! b) they cost about £2000 and c) after this weekend, I’m still building up courage to let the little monkeys out to play on their own, let alone clamber over a climbing frame! Still, they are fast outgrowing their toddler toys (it’s a sure sign they need something a bit more adventurous to play with when they pull their little slide over to the twirly washing line in a bid to jump onto it and swing round).
Having decided then to give our garden a bit of a makeover, I popped across to Van Hage in Ware. To call this place a garden centre would be doing it an injustice – they sell just about everything for the home including all my favourite brands, as well as stationery & books, restaurant and of course, plants and garden accessories. The best thing however is its child-friendliness. The boys love feeding the goats, chickens, pigs and bunnies at the animal park and we always have a train ride courtesy of the East Herts Miniature Railway Society, which runs on-site. I’m not getting paid to say this, but it is a great local visit if you have young children – just about the only place I can enjoy a relatively relaxing shopping trip with the boys!
Anyway, I picked up several new plants for the garden including a Fuchsia, Mexican Orange Blossom, Californian Lilac, Lavatera, Rosemary, Thyme and some Lavender – I was aiming for fairly fast growing plants, so that our garden really comes into full bloom by next summer. I’ve still got my eye on a few more shrubs and some pretty bedding plants, but thought that would be enough to get me started! Fortunately my lovely Dad mowed the lawn for me and helped with the planting.
My next project was the garden furniture. After several years of neglect, our table & chairs were covered in cobwebs and bird poo! After giving them the pressure-washer treatment, I sanded down the wood, rubbed over with wire-wool and then applied several coats of teak oil. Quite an arduous job, but I’m really pleased with the results. For the finishing touches I bought some cute hanging lanterns, placemats, Cath Kidston napkins, stylish silver lanterns and some very fragrant thyme and citronella candles (in a bid to keep the waspies away!). By yesterday evening, everything was finally ready to light up the BBQ and enjoy a perfect candle lit dinner al fresco!