Garden Photo of the Day

Brian’s New Jersey Garden

Tiny treasures in a suburban garden

plant with nodding light purple flowers

Brian Coleman, a self-described Iowa boy stuck in suburban New Jersey, grows a wonderful array of unusual and beautiful plants in his garden, many in them in hypertufa containers that he makes himself.

small pink flowers in a rock gardenPulsatilla ambigua (Zones 4–8) is pink, compact, and a very welcome early bloomer. Pulsatilla is a big genus, with many wonderful species native to North America, Europe, and Asia.

white Allium flowersAt the other end of the gardening year is Allium thunbergii ‘Album’ (Zones 4–9), one of the last perennials to bloom in Brian’s garden. Most of the popular Allium species grown in the garden are spring or summer bloomers, but this one waits to the very end of the gardening season to put on a show.

pitcher plants next to spires of white flowersBrian makes bog planters for special plants that love those conditions. Here, in the fall, the leaves of pitcher plants (Sarracenia, Zones 5–9) are fading, but the spires of lady tresses orchids (Spiranthes cernua, Zones 5–9) are in full bloom.

various plants that grow in wet conditionsFresh yellow pitcher plants (Sarracenia flava, Zones 5–9) grow alongside the incredible blooms of pink calopogon orchid (Zones 3–9). Despite their exotic look, these pitcher plants and orchids are native to North America and require boggy conditions to thrive.

small, light pink flowers in a containerBrian’s many hypertufa containers are perfect spots to show off special, tiny plants like this Saponaria pumilio (Zones 5–8).

hypertufa containers full of low-growing plantsBrian has a hypertufa collection on the driveway. These handmade planters make great homes for alpine plants and just get more beautiful as they age and acquire a patina of moss.

plant with nodding light purple flowersThis incredible Haberlea rhodopensis (Zones 5–8) in full bloom has been in this planter for seven years, blooming more each year. This unusual plant is actually a hardy perennial relative of the familiar houseplant the African violet.

small dark purple flowersThe lovely blooms of Pulsatilla pratensis subsp. Bohemica (Zones 4–8) are of the darkest possible purple.

hypertufa containers of various sizes and shapesNew hypertufa pots that Brian made are ready to go to their new homes.

succulents next to tiny white flowersThe developing flower spikes of Orostachys iwarenge (Zones 5–9) lie next to a spray of white flowers from Gypsophila franzii (Zones 4–9).

If you want to see more of Brian’s garden, check out his instagram: @barrow_works


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  1. giardiniera 04/19/2022

    LOVE your plant choices and your containers are expertly made, beautiful! Plants beautifully tended and grown.
    I have not seen anemone pulsatillas in a very long time. They were always a favorite of mine. Thanks for the reminder. I will look to see who might be offering these. Congrats and happy gardening!

  2. starvnmarvn 04/19/2022

    Super variety of healthy, well-cared for plants. Very well done!

  3. gardendevas 04/19/2022

    Very impressive hypertufa, beautifully planted with delightful and intriguing plants!

  4. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 04/19/2022

    Wonderful in every way. Thanks for sharing!

    1. shegardens 04/19/2022

      In total agreement!

  5. User avater
    simplesue 04/19/2022

    This hypertufa pots you create are super nice!
    You are growing some of the most unusual amazing plants!
    I've never-ever heard of Haberlea rhodopensis before, and was very interested to know it's been growing in that pot for several years successfully!
    And Wow- your Pitcher Plant is gorgeous!

  6. User avater
    treasuresmom 04/19/2022

    This garden is right up my alley. Good job!

  7. GrammyGranddad 04/19/2022

    Loved your display of some rare plants that were new to me. Live and learn. One can tell how much you enjoy your miniature presentations. Highly skilled.
    Your planters impressed me. The sky's the limit on the shapes and uses of hypertufa. Two friends and I went into business selling at festivals and yard shows with much success. People came from far and wide for our creations. Unfortunately, one of the partners took ill and the hands-on work was too much for the other two or we'd still be in business today.

    1. User avater
      cynthia2020 04/19/2022

      Re: People came from far and wide for our creations.
      G & G - sounds like you both enjoyed that so much!

  8. User avater
    cynthia2020 04/19/2022

    Brian - lovely plants, great photography, compelling gardening story! Thank you for sharing.

  9. fromvirginia 04/19/2022

    Lovely and unusual plants. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Catasetumkid 04/19/2022

    Thanks for sharing your plants! I followed you on a fellow plant collector, I am enjoy your choices and growing skills!

  11. user-5117752 04/20/2022

    How absolutely marvelous, exciting and eye opening for me! You're growing plants I've never heard of and am now lusting over! Your photos are so right!

  12. wittyone 10/18/2022

    I'm very late to the party here in October. I just happened on the post below today's good. Such beautiful plants. Some I had seen in catalogs but always for some reason thought that they wouldn't grow as a perennial in my zone 6a. I've got to look into the four that I copied down with info about them from your post.

    Thanks for sharing these beauties with us.

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