Garden Photo of the Day

Eric’s Stained Glass Conservatory

A creative, handmade garden

stained glass greenhouse at night

My name is Eric Peterson, and like most gardeners I have been into gardening since I was a child. I live on a 3,900-square-foot lot in Portland, Oregon (Zone 8b). I started my garden when I moved in about 12 years ago. Originally I was renting the house and started a container garden made mostly of plants that I would find on Craigslist for free. It made sense to have my plants in containers so I could take them with me if I moved. I continue to rescue unwanted plants when people are ready to give them a new home. We ended up buying the house in 2017 and still have a lot of container plants.

close up of various cacti and succulents in containersI like to collect a lot of antiques and display them in the garden wherever I can. In this photo I displayed a lot of my desert plants, including a golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii, Zones 9–11), Euphorbia lactea (Zones 10–11), Euphorbia ammak (Zones 10–11), Aloe ‘Hercules’ (Zones 10–11), and Aloe arborescens ‘Variegata’ (Zones 9–11).

stained glass conservatory with small gravel garden patio outsideThe stained glass conservatory was made out of recycled bricks and old barn wood. I made most of the stained glass windows myself. I cut and folded the copper shingles with my family. I made them in the shape of dragon scales. When I designed it, I wanted the light to be filtered to keep it cooler in the summer so it would be more of a livable space instead of your average overheated greenhouse that is too warm to enjoy in the summer. It has taken about three years to complete this project.

close up of bright pink passiflora flowerI am always pushing the zone with tropical plants and vines like Passiflora ‘Scarlet Flame’ (Zones 9–11). The antique phone booth in the background was quite a challenge to move in. I had to rent a crane because it’s cast iron and weighs 1,700 pounds. We had to lift it over and under power lines to move it to the house.

garden patio with potted topical trees and succulentsThe small garden is surrounded by big Yucca rostrata (Zones 7–11) that were rescued when their previous owner posted them for free on the Nextdoor app. I saved them from the chainsaw that the owner was going to take to them if no one wanted them. There are also Agave parryi (Zones 6–9) and large Agave ‘Blue Glow’ (Zones 8–11). Photo: Loree Bohl

large Yucca rostrata in a pot outside a stained glass buildingMost of the Yucca rostrata stand over 10 feet tall in their pots.

close up of spiky plants in containersAnother Yucca rostrata sits next to a Nolina nelsonii (Zones 7–10) and an Agave americana (Zones 8–10) underneath an antique windmill.

another view of garden patio with lots of tropical plantsOn the right there is a very large, very heavy Agave gentryi (Zones 7–10), another rescued plant. It took a small team of volunteers to help rescue this agave, as it weighed about 500 pounds. In the back there is a fireplace made out of recycled bricks and stone that were found for free on Craigslist.

large succulent plants on side of houseThe rescued agave is about 6 feet wide and 4 feet tall. Behind it you can see a Trachycarpus fortunei ‘Wagnerianus’ (Zones 7–11). I’ve planted seven of them on my small lot. I’m hoping for a palm grove effect as they mature.

stained glass greenhouse at nightI added a lot of lighting in the greenhouse in hopes of catching NASA’s attention with a glowing stained glass greenhouse.

close up of lighting fixtures in the greenhouseI’ve hung three large chandeliers and a couple of phonograph horns with oversized lightbulbs for a steampunk effect.

Chandeliers in the greenhouseChandeliers in the greenhouse

Thank you for letting me share my garden and greenhouse with everyone. Like any good gardener I’m not finished, and I’ll have more for you to see later.

If you want to see more from Eric, check out his Instagram: @ericpeterson89


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View Comments


  1. MohawkValley 10/16/2023

    I have no words to satisfactorily state what you have created . These pictures should stimulate everyone's imagination as to what THEY can do with a vision , some perseverance and good ol' elbow grease . If these pictures don't do it , then nothing will . Congrats on making your turf your own personal paradise . Peace from the Mohawk Valley .

  2. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 10/16/2023

    Interesting use of materials and quite a selection of plants. Thanks for sharing your space.

  3. bsavage 10/16/2023

    Amazing, really! Everything is so cool and stunning! Well done to you!

    1. jos29803 10/16/2023

      STUNNING!!!! I'm an
      Agave fan and yours are what I hope mine will become. I can't put into words the appreciation of your hard work and creativity make me feel looking at your photos. THANK YOU FOR SHARING!

  4. nwphilagardener 10/16/2023

    Wow! These garden rooms are brilliant!, I appreciate the heroic group efforts to save gargantuan specimen plants which make memorable spaces. You teach us that bold vintage items can also add whimsy. And I'd like Eric to get a shout out for photos expertly composed and beautifully lit.

    1. cynthia2020 10/16/2023

      Eric - I agree with everything nwphilagardener said. Amazing garden. Amazing greenhouse.

  5. gardendevas 10/16/2023

    Bravo! Amazing creativity and plantsmanship. And kudos for saving all those fabulous plants!,

  6. billziebar 10/16/2023

    Absolutely one of the finest gardens that of have seen on GPOD!!

  7. User avater
    user-7007816 10/16/2023

    Absolutely stunning. The greenhouse is amazing. Well done!

  8. User avater
    treasuresmom 10/16/2023


  9. ajkochis 10/16/2023

    Your garden is awe-inspiring. I can't believe you have worked all of those amazing pants and the conservatory, the fireplace, and the phone booth into 3900 sq st. Your conservatory is stunning - the copper roof is a work of art in and of itself! Years ago I built what I refer to as my "garden folly" of a shed - sort of a miniature version of the main house - but I see now I should have gone even more over the top with the details! Beautiful.

  10. btucker9675 10/16/2023

    This is spectacular... everything is spectacular... I'm having a terrible case of agave envy right now! Bravo on this wonderful space.

  11. rosebudal 10/17/2023

    Yours is one of my favorite online gardens. I’ve admired it since reading about the church agave rescue on Danger Garden blog. A dramatic story! And there’s much to glean here: the containers are spectacular. Will follow on instagram.

  12. BrendaGardens 10/18/2023

    Truly Spectacular! The huge agaves and plant rescues are impressive. Mostly I love all the details in your greenhouse - the phonograph horns! Chandeliers! Copper roof! I'd really love to hear more about how you made that copper roof, it's giving me ideas for my own garden shed. Bravo!

  13. User avater
    simplesue 10/18/2023

    OMG I almost forgot to come to this page and see the featured garden- YOU ARE AMAZING!
    I love your style, I love where your heart is rescuing plants- what an impressive work of creativity your garden is- FRIGGN FABULOUS!

  14. perenniallycrazy 10/27/2023

    Spectacular and truly inspirational! Bravo!

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