Nellie Beasley's Cottage, Byng Street

It was neat and natty. She liked pretty things and ornaments in the garden and the house. The front garden was her pride and joy. She loved watering the pots and talking to people over the fence.

Nellie Beasley created a miniature Garden of Eden in the front of her federation cottage in Byng Street. The garden was densely planted with a mix of succulents, perennials and dozens of pots, under a large rhododendron (Rhododendron sp.), and mauve hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus). An eclectic population of cement figures, birds, frogs, toadstools and gnomes added character and interest. On either side of the curving path, the garden beds were studded with white shells around the concrete edge.

View of the front garden with a kangaroo, toadstool and a decapitated Mexican figure. Vandals were an occasional problem.
Image courtesy: Myra Howell

At the back was a small patch of lawn, garden beds, more pots, a seat, the hills hoist and a tyre swan. Nellie cultivated her magical garden from 1956 until her death in 1988, when the garden was photographed by her daughters.

Looking east across the front veranda covered in pots, ferns and a huge Elkhorn (Platycerium bifurcatum). Myra Howell remembers her mother had dozens of pots and watered them nearly every day. It was a bit of a pain when she went away as we had to water them. They all had to be alive when she got back.
Image courtesy: Myra Howell
Nellie Beasley photographed in her back garden about 1965.
Image courtesy: Myra Howell