Peacock Horticultural Nursery: awesome plants and a big anniversary sale

Last Saturday, I visited Peacock Horticultural Nursery in Sebastopol, about 80 miles west of here. As their website says, “it features unusual, hard-to-find, and interesting plants for both serious collectors and garden dabblers alike. The owners, Robert Peacock and Marty Waldron, have created an intimate West [Sonoma] County setting for diverse plant collections well-suited to Northern California climates, including air plants, pitcher plants, bromeliads, a few house plants, palms, ferns, Australian plants, cactus, conifers, succulents, maples, and plants for a shady garden and more. Hopefully, you will have some time to explore all the nooks and crannies of the nursery. Although you will see our large selection of succulents and cactus as soon as you step out of your car, please explore the nursery to find many varieties of plants. Check out the shop with house plants and hand made pottery. Check out the shady areas of the nursery for shrubs, trees, ferns and perennials that enjoy less sun. Robert also features plants with unusual foliage – variegated, dark and chartreuse colored, contorted and any other interesting variants.” 

I quoted the full description from the Peacock website because it perfectly encapsulates what you can expect. This isn't the generic kind of garden center so many nurseries have (d)evolved into, but a real destination for plant lovers: It's easy to lose yourself among the treasures, and before you know it, an hour or two has gone by. I think of the nursery as Robert's and Marty's garden where most of the plants you see are for sale. (The back section of the property is closed to the public, but the front half around the house is open for exploration.)

Sign on Gravenstein Highway South

Prior to the pandemic, Peacock Horticultural Nursery had regular business hours, but Robert and Marty have now instituted an appointment system. Since there are so many unusual plants in the nursery, many customer have questions; timed appointment slots ensure that Robert and Marty can give them full and personalized attention.

One thing I love so much about Peacock is how the landscaping and the nursery plants merge seamlessly. Sometimes you need to look close to see whether a plant is actually in the ground or whether it's for sale.

Below is a wide view of the front of the nursery, with Gravenstein Highway just off to the right. The house in the center is Robert's and Marty's residence; the building on the left is the shop featuring house plants, air plants, handmade pottery, collectible rocks, and other unique items.

Because it was drizzling, colors were supersaturated – something my eyes weren't used to

As you might have guessed from the blurb I shared at the top of this post, Robert's love of plants is wide and deep. If there's a group of plants he doesn't like, I don't know about it. The nursery inventory ranges from Abies (fir) to Zingiber (ginger) and includes plenty of oddities and rarities. While the inventory posted on the website isn't updated in real time, it does give you a very good idea of what's available and what the prices are. I wish more nurseries would do that!

Robert posts updates about new plant arrivals right on the nursery's homepage – very useful for planning your next trip or just to keep current on what's out there.

Let's take a walk and explore the kinds of things you can expect to find when you visit.

Aloe 'OIK' and Dyckia 'Brittle Star'

Looking for the latest mangaves? Peacock has them, including the brand-new ×Mangave 'Night Owl'...

...and ×Mangave 'Fiercely Fabulous', one of my new favorites (small plants don't do it justice)

Yucca desmetiana 'Blue Boy' and Yucca 'Bright Star'

One of several paths through the middle portion of the property

Ferns, too, including Coniogramme emeiensis 'Golden Zebra' (center) of which I got two

Bromeliad table

Bracket fungus growing on decaying tree branches.
Update: As realistic as they look, they're ceramic pieces by Berkeley artist Marcia Donahue!

Yucca rostrata 'Sapphire Skies' and Agave 'Snow Glow', both in the ground

Mangave 'Night Owl' and Cleistocactus strausii

Mangave 'Lavender Lady'

Mangave 'Kaleidoscope' and Puya coerulea var. coerulea 

Agave albopilosa

Mangave 'Night Owl'

Mangave 'Spotty Dotty' and Agave mitis var. albidior 'UCB'

Agave mitis var. albidior 'UCB'

Mangave 'Spotty Dotty' sporting vibrant stress colors

Euphorbia flanaganii (center) and Euphorbia resinifera (right)

Maybe Polystichum setiferum

Rain makes succulents pop. And not just this aeonium: Check out these beauties!

Agave attenuata 'Kara's Stripes'

Agave mitis var. albidior 'UCB'

Mahonia sp.

Shade dwellers

Temptations lining the nursery driveway

 Here are the two cheerful faces behind this gem of a nursery, Robert on the left and Marty on the right. I've known them for a good while now, and they truly are the salt of the earth. I'm so grateful that they continue to bring us plants we might not otherwise have access to.

Robert Peacock (left) and Marty Waldron (right)

 And here are the requisite photos of my plant haul. I didn't go overboard in terms of volume. Instead, I put a good chunk of my budget towards the two larger plants in the middle, both of which I'd wanted for quite a while.

The two taller plants in the middle are Lepidozamia peroffskyana, a cycad from Australia, and Brahea decumbens, a dwarf palm from Mexico which turns a stunning blue-silver as it matures

Clockwise from bottom left: Ruschia lineolata 'Nana', Aeonium 'Pseudotabuliforme', Cheilantes argentea and Cheilantes lanosa (freebies from Robert), and another Aeonium 'Pseudotabuliforme'

Clockwise from bottom left: Echeveria minima hybrid, Marlothistella uniondalensis, Echeveria cante, Coniogramme emeiensis 'Golden Zebra' (2x), Sansevieria 'Star Power Series'

 All my new plants in a handy table:

Aeonium‘pseudotabuliforme’4"AKA 'Green Platters', purported hybrid of Aeonium arboreum x A. canariense; bought 2
Agave‘Blue Wave’4"A. colorata x mitis 'Nova' hybrid
Braheadecumbens#5Hardy to find Mexican dwarf palm with very blue leaves (green for the first 5-10 years), very slow growing, so I might as well bite the bullet and get one now
Cheilanthesargentea#1Dryland fern, now Aleuritopteris argentea
Cheilantheslanosa#1Dryland fern, now Myriopteris lanosa
Coniogrammeemeiensis‘Golden Zebra’4"Striped bamboo fern from China; needs to be kept moist so a splurge; bought 2
Echeveriacante4"Striking pale leaves
Echeveriaminimahybrid4"Very dense cluster
Lepidozamiaperoffskyana#5Australian cycad, easy to grow, no spines
Marlothistellauniondalensis4"Hardy winter-growing mesemb, prefers afternoon shade, purple flowers
Ruschialineolata‘Nana’#1Dwarf version of species, forms dense mats only a couple of inches tall
Sansevieria‘Star Power Series’6"Small hahnii type with striking green variegation

Robert also showed me their recently overhauled private garden. I took a lot of photos (surprise, surprise) and will have a separate post soon.

  ❀  ❀  ❀  ❀  

Peacock Horticultural Nursery opened its doors on September 15, 2005. To celebrate 16 years in business, everything is on sale until the last available appointment on September 30, 2021:

  • All plants are 20% off.
  • All conifers are 30% off.
  • All other merchandise, including pottery, is 15% off.

Appointments can be made from the Peacock website. Each slot is for 30 minutes, but that doesn't mean you need to be in and out in half an hour – you can take all the time you want to walk around and explore the huge variety of plants tucked away on the expansive grounds.

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  1. Love the sign, love the yellow bamboo canes backdrop, love the drizzle, saturation and atmosphere!
    I own not a single aloe (or any other spiky plants), but Aloe 'OIK' could be the exception: I'm enamored by its bumps and sparkle. Plants aside, "Bracket fungus growing on decaying tree branches" took the cake!

  2. The fungi are actual ceramic sculptures from the artist Marcia Donahue of Berkeley. These are among are most prized positions and were a gift from Marcia. She had noticed that we often used organic logs, branches and such for our planter borders and thought these fungi would look right at home. If you have not seen her garden before it is a must visit.

    1. Marcia's fungi totally fooled me! I've been to her garden, and there I look at everything twice. But in your garden, not so much. The fungi are totally realistic.

  3. A wonderful haul! I'm a little in love with that Sansevieria. Where is California's bullet train when I need it?

  4. Wow! What a great place! Maybe someday I'll have a chance to visit it.

  5. What an awesome nursery. Browsing for plants in the middle of a gorgeous garden. Doesn't get much better than that.

  6. I want to visit this place! Sadly it's tucked away somewhere I doubt I'll ever be driving through. The Agave mitis var. albidior 'UCB' glows...


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