In the meantime, we've still been enjoying watching the plants grow and bloom, and now they're going through a second bloom as we head into the middle of summer.
In addition to the plants, we've added some other features. For instance, I've always wanted a few of these ceramic stools. I found these two at the Pier 1 and fell in love with the colors, so I bought both.
I also wanted an obelisk on either side of the garden to kind of anchor the space. I searched online and found a bunch of different choices, but they were all either too small, too large, or too expensive. I finally found what I was looking for at Tai Pan Trading. In looking through the photos, I see that I don't have one of the obelisks, so I'll have to get out there and take one soon! Anyway, I loved them the moment I saw them. The one problem is that they were brown and I really wanted black. A can of spray paint remedied that one ;-) While at Tai Pan, I also found a graduated set of willow teepees that I thought would be perfect for a cottage garden, so I bought a couple of those also. This is not ours, but it's just like the two we bought (sorry, I know the pic is a bit small!)
I also discovered a beautiful talavera pottery birdbath at HomeGoods one day that I just had to have. I've seen so few of these and of those that I have seen, they are terribly expensive. I thought this one was a bargain by comparison, and actually prettier than most I've seen. Again, this one is not ours, but it's very similar. The colors are the same, but ours has a raised ceramic flower in the center instead of the birds sitting on the edge.
Anyway - all of this to say that I have some photos to share of the garden, but most of these elements were added after the plants were planted and I haven't taken more updated photos really since then.
If you look closely in one of the pics, you'll see the white actuator for the pool. It's still functional, but it stands out so much because it's white. Since these photos were taken, and because I already had the black spray paint for the obelisks, I've since painted the white actuator black ... and it looks much better!
The last thing we've done is to add lights. We thought about a couple of different options, but decided on cute little Italian cafe lights strung across the back, close to the hedge. We also added another set along the overhang close to the house. It's amazing how much light they add to the yard! Additionally we've got lots of little ceramic lanterns around the yard and patio and have been using flameless candles to light them up; it ads a nice warm glow and a wonderful ambiance. The last thing we added (well, at least for now!) is a candle chandelier over the dining table. It, too, came with the flameless candles, but these candles are on timers! We can set them for either 4 or 8 hours and when they reach their limit, they go off automatically. Niiiiice! Here's an ad photo of the chandelier:
And here are some night-time photos of the lights we added to the back yard: