Garden Photo of the Day

Creating a New Garden From Scratch

Before and after in an Australian garden

I am Marcella Mathews from Brisbane, Australia. We have been in our new house for just over three years. I have loved gardening since I was a little girl. My dad was my teacher, and he taught me all I needed to get hooked. At every home I have lived in, I have created my own gardens from scratch. Gardening is the best therapy ever. I love to be creative every chance I can. I hope other people get a little pleasure from my photos.

Here’s a view of the outside of the house shortly after we moved in—before the garden was created.

And after! We didn’t want any grass to mow in such a small area.

In the background is a sign (“Born to garden. Forced to work.”) and a watering can I decorated.

A colorful planting with Acalypha ‘Inferno’ (Zones 8–10 or as annual) in the back corner.

Fern, marigolds (Tagetes patula, annual), and bromeliads. For those of us in colder climates, bromeliads make great houseplants and can easily be planted outside for summer displays and then brought indoors to overwinter.

A little fairy garden I made with Sheena’s Gold (Duranta erecta ‘Sheena’s Gold’, Zones 9–11) beside it and a bromeliad in front.

Variegated bougainvillea (Zones 9–11)

Barleria ‘Purple Gem’ (Zones 9–11), Breynia nivosa (Hawaiian snow bush, Zones 10–11), and other plants make a colorful display.

The garden pathway lined with plants.

This is my little goldfish pond area, created by me and loved by me.


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View Comments


  1. sandyprowse 06/24/2019

    Beautiful job! You have made a delightful garden to enjoy.

    1. marcellamathews 06/25/2019

      Thank you, I do enjoy it.

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 06/24/2019

    I adore the transformation, Marcella. You are the gardener's version of a magician...turning nothingness into a fun fantasyland of plants and adorable ornamentation. Congrats on following your passion and doing doing it so successfully.

    1. marcellamathews 06/25/2019

      Thank you so much. Gardening has always been my passion.

  3. User avater
    simplesue 06/24/2019

    You sure have turned a boring narrow area of yard, into an interesting little secret garden to linger in and enjoy! I love seeing transformations like this.
    Pretty plants and pretty amazing transformation, that took a lot of imagination to transform that narrow spot!

    1. marcellamathews 06/25/2019

      It did take a lot of planning. I always draw up my ideas, Then put them all together. Thank you.

  4. btucker9675 06/24/2019

    What a very pretty garden you've made - and I love the "Born to Garden, Forced to Work" sentiment... exactly the way I feel! Thanks for sharing this creative transformation.

    1. marcellamathews 06/25/2019

      Thank you. I saw the verse somewhere and made my own out of an offcut of timber.

  5. Cenepk10 06/24/2019

    So lively !!!! Beautiful ! I can see your amazing personality popping out all over. Really nicely put together & ordered and colorful - I had no idea you could put bromeliads out like that.

    1. marcellamathews 06/25/2019

      Thank you so much for your kind words.

  6. user-7020748 06/24/2019

    A creative and beautiful use of a small space. I'm sure it gives you great pleasure.

    1. marcellamathews 06/25/2019

      Thank you, I do get a lot of pleasure from my gardens.

  7. cheryl_c 06/24/2019

    I love how you have converted a narrow barren area in to a smoldering show of color with frosty accents! Amazing that both the ferns and the marigolds look healthy right next to each other - they can't inhabit the same areas here! Love all the 'long shots' you shared, and seeing plants I've never seen before. Thanks for a wonderful bright spot in the day!

    1. marcellamathews 06/25/2019

      Thank you Cheryl. The marigolds are always planted everywhere in my gardens, They help to keep the pests away.

  8. [email protected] 06/24/2019

    Thanks for sharing your great accomplishment! I never seem to remember to take the "before" pictures, until I am well into the project- great job!

    1. marcellamathews 06/25/2019

      Thank you. The before shot wasn't really intentional. It was really taken when we were getting a fence up. But it came in handy anyway.

  9. wittyone 06/24/2019

    What a beautiful job you have done, turning basically nothing into your own original spot for relaxing and enjoying your flowers.

    1. marcellamathews 06/25/2019

      Thank you. Now that I am relaxing and enjoying my garden. I am also thinking of what to do next.
      A Gardeners work is never done.

  10. paiya 06/24/2019

    The way the you took a barren narrow space and turned it into ShangriLa is lovely. I can imagine you sitting on the bench sipping a drink, surrounded by the beauty you have created and feeling peaceful.

    1. marcellamathews 06/25/2019

      Yes. Spot on. I do exactly that. There is no place like a garden to make you feel peaceful. Thank you .

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