Garden Photo of the Day

Tiny Treasures in Brigitta’s Garden

Big flower power from small plants

Daphne juliae covered in pink flowers

Brigitta Stewart, the owner of the small mail-order nursery Arrowhead Alpines in Michigan, has a garden full of tiny treasures, many of them very rare—special plants that you don’t see in many gardens.

close up of small white and blue irisesIris pumila (Zones 3–8) is a tiny species of bearded iris that is the ancestor of the miniature bearded iris hybrids. But the species itself is quite beautiful without any hybridization at all, and comes in a few colors. This very special form of the species has unique, almost turquoise flowers that are unlike those of any other iris.

small deep purple irises in a graveled garden bedOther selections of Iris pumila and other tiny plants grow in a small rock garden in the front of the nursery.

close up of alpine daphne with pink flowersOne of Brigitta’s specialties is alpine daphnes. These tiny evergreen shrubs demand perfect drainage, doing best in sandy soils or in a raised bed or elevated garden with a well-drained soil mix; otherwise they are not hard to make happy. This is Daphne × hendersonii ‘Fritz Kimmert’ (Zones 4–7), which combines fragrant pink flowers with dark, glossy, evergreen foliage.

Daphne juliae covered in pink flowersDaphne juliae (Zones 4–7) is a stunning show-stopper of a plant. Look at the incredible sheet of pink flowers! It is hard to match alpine daphnes for sheer flower power in the spring.

small hybrid daphneA few years ago, Brigitta noticed a little daphne growing in her garden that didn’t look quite like any of the others. She moved it to its own bed, and now it is clear that it is some kind of chance hybrid the bees made that happened to manage to germinate and thrive. It is unclear what the exact parentage of this little plant is, but it is totally beautiful.

close up of Asarum maximumAll the references say that Asarum maximum is only hardy in Zones 7–9, but this one is thriving and blooming in Brigitta’s garden all the same. Who knows if that is just the luck of a mild winter or if it will persist long term, but it sure is beautiful.


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View Comments


  1. JaySifford 05/01/2024

    Fascinating and beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  2. btucker9675 05/01/2024

    Alpine Daphnes! So beautiful... Tiny Irises! So beautiful!!!

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 05/01/2024

    How very lovely!

  4. CarolIntheGarden 05/01/2024

    The Daphnes are really lovely! The scent must be wonderful! What unique colors on your Iris.

  5. User avater
    simplesue 05/02/2024

    Such pretty little plants!

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