Private garden at Peacock Horticultural Nursery

A couple of months ago, I visited Peacock Horticultural Nursery in Sebastopol, CA and experienced the first rain of the season in western Sonoma County (Davis didn't get anything at the time). As I was exploring the many hidden corners of the nursery, co-owner Robert Peacock, after whom the nursery is named, invited me into the “Staff Only” area. In addition to housing a few propagation greenhouses, it's also Robert's and his husband Marty's private garden.

The entrance is in a wooded part of the property:

Beschorneria sp. glistening in the gentle rain
Robert corrected me: This is actually Agave weberi 'Rainer's Selection'. I never would have guessed!

Different Beschorneria sp.

One of the propagation hoop houses

Closer look

Looking back at the hoop house as I was walking away from it

The heart of the private garden is a newly built mounded bed surrounded by a flagstone path:

The mound is home to a large variety of succulents, ranging from ground-cover mesembs to agaves and aloes to cacti:

One corner of the bed is a succulent-filled crevice garden:

This is something I've long wanted to do but I don't have right spot for it. I'm so happy that Robert and Marty are trying this technique in combination with succulents; traditionally it's used for alpine plants.

The non-crevice areas of this mound are just as interesting. As a nursery owner, Robert has access to a neverending supply of cool plants, including the latest introductions.

This round container, perfectly sized for the tree stump it sits on, is a perfect succulent rock garden en miniature

The rock work, done by Robert, is magnificent. Look at the rounded rocks incorporated into the low retaining wall!

I also love the echeverias tucked into the crevices:

Rectangular steel planters are a perfect complement, bringing special plants closer to eye level and giving them the extra drainage they need:

Here are some plants that jumped out at me—not literally, thank goodness:

Agave salmiana var. ferox 'Medio Picta'

Agave geminiflora and ×Mangave 'Tooth Fairy'

Yucca gloriosa 'Tiny Star' and Agave ×ovatisana 'Sea Star'

Yucca gloriosa 'Tiny Star' 

Succulents aren't the only thing in Robert's and Marty's private garden:

Carnivorous plants? 🗸

A water garden? 🗸

My eyes kept going back to a magnificent specimen of love lies bleeding, aka ornamental amaranth:

Amaranthus caudatus...

...aka love lies bleeding (love that name!)

Another group of plants Robert likes are South African bulbs:

Brunsvigia josephinae

×Amarygia, a bigeneric cross between Amaryllis and Brunsvigia, typically Amaryllis belladonna and Brunsvigia josephinae

The final two photos I took are reminders that this is a garden where actual work is done:

Robert and Marty have created something very special for themselves. Their private garden is just that: a sanctuary away from the retail nursery that's open to the public. But it's more than just private, it's beautiful. The succulent mound with its crevice corner, retaining walls, and surrounding flagstone path is an inspiration. If I had the room, I'd happily recreate in my own garden!

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Peacock Horticultural Nursery is located at 4296 Gravenstein Hwy S, Sebastopol, CA 95472. They're open by appointment only. You can book a time slot on their website.


© Gerhard Bock, 2021. All rights reserved. To receive all new posts by email, please subscribe here.


  1. The crevice garden is impressive! It has me thinking about revamping one of my succulent beds.

  2. Being invited into the “Staff Only” area is the cherry on the cake. I love the work they did with the flag stone, pebbles, and low retaining wall; it's a visually gorgeous bed from which I'll take pointers. Agave salmiana var. ferox 'Medio Picta' is a beautiful specimen.

    1. That low retaining wall is an eye opener. So creative! I'm trying to find a place where I can create something similar.

  3. Wonderful mix of rocks and pebbles as carefully thought out as the plants -- all the different types of rock really hang together. And the crevice garden rock is done very sensitively, understated, but brings a dynamism to the planting. And the plants of course are beautifully selected and grown! Making a note of Yucca 'Tiny Star.'

    1. It's been almost two months since my visit, but I think of that crevice garden all the time!

      Robert said Yucca 'Tiny Star' is difficult to find. Native Sons has it listed on their web site; maybe you'll find it in SoCal. If you do, please let me know!

  4. Beautiful garden with expert planning and care. The rock arrangements are well-crafted.

    I had 'Tiny Star' quite a long time ago, but it never thrived and ultimately rotted away.

    1. I'd love to give Yucca 'Tiny Star' a try. Its small size makes it perfect for our garden.

  5. What a gorgeous garden and a real treat to go behind the scenes into their private space. I love the fact there are many different micro-environments where they can play with different plants. Their carnivorous plant bowl is drool worthy.

    1. Agreed re: carnivorous plant bowl. I'm trying hard to resist the pull of carnivorous plants; it's a black hole I don't want to get sucked into at the moment :-).

  6. It looks like they extended the crevice style of rock placement out into the walkway around that section of the raised island bed? Genius!

    1. Yes, there are crevice "echoes" in the walkway. Brilliantly done.


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