Monday, October 21, 2013

A visit to Peacock Horticultural Nursery, part 1

Located in the small town of Sebastopol in Sonoma County, about an hour north of San Francisco, Peacock Horticultural Nursery is a treasure that deserves to be more widely known. Although it’s been a while since my last visit, I try to stop there whenever I can on my way to the coast (Bodega Bay is only 20 minutes from Sebastopol).

On Sunday I found myself in Sebastopol for ARTrails, an open studio tour organized by the Arts Council of Sonoma County. But before we even went to the first open studio, we dropped by Peacock Horticultural Nursery to do some exploring.

The nursery is owned and run by Robert Peacock. It won’t take you long to realize that this is anything but a conventional nursery. Robert is a plant nut, and while he is in the business of selling plants, it’s quite obvious he also collects them. The property is a couple of acres, if I had to make a guess, and not only encompasses the nursery but also the house where Robert lives. In fact, walking the meandering paths, most of them shaded by tall trees, is more like visiting somebody’s garden than a commercial business—with one major difference: most of the plants are in nursery pots instead of in the ground, and they are available for purchase.

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Peacock Horticultural Nursery, 4296 Gravenstein Highway South, Sebastopol, CA

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Agave americana ‘Marginata’, wheelbarrow and Muhlenbergia capillaris ‘White Cloud’

Originally I was going to do just one post about my visit to Peacock Horticultural Nursery, but when I transferred my photos to my computer, I realized that I’d taken 128 pictures. Even after ruthless editing I still ended up with 50+ photos I wanted to share—too many for one post.

This post focuses on the plants near the entrance and the succulents, most which are to left of the white barn (see next photo). Part 2 takes you to some other areas of the nursery, including the shady “front yard.”

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This is what you see as you arrive. The small parking area is to the left of the barn.

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Entrance and parking lot

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Barn

I was immediately drawn to the pops of red visible here and there.

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A wealth of tempting plants…

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…right at the entrance

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Beautiful color contrasts

A lot of the red came from Leucadendron × ‘Jester’. I wrote about this cultivar last fall and this summer (click here). After a long search, I finally found a specimen at Ruth Bancroft Garden’s spring plant sale. Now it seems that ‘Jester’ is finally becoming more widely available. I saw at least a dozen 2-gallon plants at Peacock Horticultural Nursery.

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Leucadendron × ‘Jester’ (aka ‘Safari Sunshine’)

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Leucadendron × ‘Jester’ (aka ‘Safari Sunshine’)

My favorite area of the nursery is immediately to the left of the barn. That’s where the succulents are. Robert always has a good selection, including cultivars that have only recently become available. For example, I saw Agave sebastiana ‘Silver Lining’,  Agave potatorum ‘Snowfall’ and Agave parrasana ‘Fireball’, all cultivars I’d only read about. Both ‘Snowfall’ and ‘Fireball’ were stunning. If they’d been available in 1-gallon size, I would have picked them up. The larger specimens were above my budget.

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The aloes on the table are ‘Christmas Carol’ and ‘Coral Edge’. The agaves are Agave sebastiana ‘Silver Lining’ (left) and Agave parryi var. huachucensis (right).

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Head planter with Sedum rupestris

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Yucca recurvifolia ‘Bright Star’

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Impressive trees and tables laden with botanical goodies

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Aloe polyphylla (left) and Agave lophantha ‘Quadricolor’, Agave titanota
and Agave ‘Royal Spine’

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Variegated yucca (possibly Yucca filamentosa ‘Color Guard’)

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 Yucca recurvifolia ‘Bright Star’

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Dyckia ‘Silver Superstar’

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Agave potatorum

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Agave table

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Agave americana ‘Mediopicta alba’ and Agave potatorum ‘Snowfall’

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Agave parrasana ‘Fireball’

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Echeveria ‘Imbricata’ and dark purple euphorbias

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Unidentified agave and ornamental millet (?)

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More agaves (‘Blue Glow’ on the right)

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Euphorbia characias ‘Tasmanian Tiger’

Have I whetted your appetite? Then click here to read part 2.

8 comments:

  1. I don't think I've ever seen Agave potatorum before -- different! This looks like a great place. Maybe next time I'm in the Bay Area we can meet again and take a drive up there.

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    1. Definitely! The next time you're in the Bay Area, add a day or two to your trip and I'll take you to some cool places, including the Ruth Bancroft Garden, the UC Botanical Garden in Berkeley, etc.

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  2. Nice to visit there again. I remember our first visit and it looks like he has double the plants now! Amazing.

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    1. There probably are more plants now. Plus, the ones that were there then have grown.

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  3. You whetted it indeed, looking forward to part 2! The variegated yucca could be Yucca filamentosa Colour Guard

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    1. 'Color Guard' is a very good guess. It bet that's what it is.

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  4. Wow...sounds (and looks) like my kind of place. Can't wait for the next installment. (and I love that Agave parrasana ‘Fireball’!!!)

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    1. I was thinking of you when I wrote this post. You have so many über-cool nurseries in the PNW. I'm glad we have at least a few that might be able to hold their own in a comparison.

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