Saturday, June 5, 2010

Don't Peacocks ever sleep?

Ok, that's not really the main subject of this post. But every time I'm at home (particularly in the evening hours when I have a few moments to spare to dabble on the computer), I notice that the neighbor's peacocks (yes, I said peacocks) have this penchant for emitting their meowy-caterwaully calls at disturbingly precise intervals throughout their 24-7 diurnal cycle. As proof positive, it's now about 1:00am and I'm still hearing the nails-across-the-chalkboard sound effects of these over-caffeinated birds outside the open window about every 15 minutes or so.

First of all, why do people even keep peacocks? Unlike poultry, ducks & geese, they really have no other useful function than to inflate the egos of their owners who want to impress their visitors with visages of avian resplendence strutting around the grounds like Paris Hilton on a go-see. Second, I really don't have much against this brocaded peafowl, other than the fact that when I'm smack dab in the middle of a transcendental meditation in the peace and quiet of our rural surroundings, I don't want to be snapped out of my reverie by the 100 decibel screech of WRAHWRAHWRAH!!!

Thank the deuces we're still far enough away from our nearest neighbor to deem this auditory anomaly in the space time continuum only mildly disturbing.

Now on to things more horticultural in nature.

Spring is fading fast and summer is gearing up as our weekend temperatures are expected to spike up into the 90s. Here's a quick repast of some blooming natives that will soon be retiring for the season:

5/8/10 Heuchera 'Canyon Duet.'

5/8/10 'Jack' Monkeyflower (Mimulus cultivar).

6/2/10 'Marian Sampson' Coyote Mint (Monardella macrantha). A selection from Mourning Cloak Ranch & Botanic Garden in Tehachapi. Quite miniature, so I have it growing in a clay pot with 'Sunset Strain' Lewisia (Lewisia cotyledon). 

5/20/10 California Brodiaea (Brodiaea californica). 

5/17/10 Fruits of Hoffmann's Nightshade (Solanum xanti var. Hoffmannii). They resemble little green tomatoes or tomatillos. HOWEVER, this nightshade is toxic, so just say no to taste testing. Native to Gaviota Pass north of Santa Barbara. 

5/17/10 Canyon Liveforever (Dudleya cymosa). Native to rocky cliffs and outcrops in the North Coast, Cascades, Sierras & Transverse ranges of California. 

6/2/10 Fort William Fairyfan (Clarkia williamsonii). Native to foothills and woodlands of the Northern and Central Sierras. 

5/27/10 Fort William Fairyfan (Clarkia williamsonii). 

5/8/10 Farnsworth's Jewelflower (Streptanthus farnsworthianus). 

5/20/10 Hedge Nettle (Stachys bullata).

5/27/10 Hyacinth Brodiaea (Tritelia hyacinthina).

5/28/10 Butterfly Mariposa Lily (Calochortus venustus).

5/27/10 Bolander's Phacelia (Phacelia bolanderi). 

5/20/10 Chinese Houses, white-flowered form (Collinsia heterophylla). 


  1. That was HILARIOUS. :D I laughed so hard. Because that's exactly what I would think if I had a neighbour with peacocks...pretentious. I didn't realize they even made sounds LOL. I do hear the occasional rooster crow, which makes me feel like I'm in a movie (I'm from the city, I'd never heard an actual rooster crow before I moved here).
    Beautiful photos :D

  2. Peacocks do rather sound like someone is strangling a cat. I heard them the first time when I was camping in Texas. Freaky. I remember working at an opera company in rural central new York, the summer a homeless peacock turned up in our little farm town. Since the town only had 200 residents, everyone know everyone, and everyone know everyone's livestock. That peacock was quite a mystery, as it strutted up and down the street.

    Hey, if that Clarkia produces tons of seeds, might you toss a few in my direction?

  3. Kyna,
    You'll never ever forget the call of the peacock once you hear it. I'd much rather a rooster any day!

    Lisa, absolutely - I collect seeds from a lot of the stuff I grow and am always very happy to share. Shoot me an email with your mailing address to and I'll let you know when they're harvested and ready to mail out.

  4. what a great description Arleen - I think you should be a writer. Yeah strange creatures those peacocks. Its the kind of animal they have wandering around the gardens of stately homes here and folks that "want to climb the social ladder" - frankly I don't see the point. They don't lay eggs, and they're not like geese guarding the property.

    As for the flowers those are beautiful photos. That clarkia looks such a lovely colour.

  5. What a great collection of plants! Love that Monardella, never seen it before.

  6. I'd read that Lucky Baldwin was the first in the 19th century to import peacocks to his estate, part of which is now the LA County Arboretum. In my days as a kid in the LA area I remember visiting the grounds and seeing the birds everywhere. I'm not sure if that started the trend, but you could see that a rail tycoon might want something exotic for show like peacocks.

    Of course, I'd much rather have super cool natives like you've shown us. Give up on the peacocks. Impress me with plants instead!

  7. You'll be glad to know your neighbors have like minded egoists here in my state. Which is amazing to me. A bird dragging that enormous tail through the snow doesn't sound low maintenance.

    You have a lot of blooms happening. I made a tiny (emphasis on tiny) bouquet of all the things that are blooming in my yard right now. There might have been six things. Sheesh.

    Christine in Alaska

  8. Thanks, Rosie! I almost (and 'almost' is the operative word here) feel sorry for these peacocks because, even though they are not exactly on the menu for Homo sapiens, I'm sure they are an alluring delicacy for our neighborhood coyotes. But, judging from the unabated volume of their calls, I think they are well-sequestered from any potential predators.

    Hi Town Mouse. The Monardella is indeed a little gem. I've been growing Monardella macrantha (Scarlet Monardella) in my garden for the past couple years, but happened upon the 'Marian Sampson' selection at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Fall native plant sale back in November 2008. So far, it's proven to be a great container plant.

    James, I also used to frequent the Arboretum when I lived in LA County and actually have fond memories of their resident peacocks (along with the Queen Anne's Cottage, home shot to the kitschy Ricardo Montalban Fantasy Island series of the late 70's early 80s). Peacocks are cool in an expansive park, but not in your own backyard. So, yes - on the record, I'm a peacock NIMBY!

    Hey Christine - tell me it ain't so! Peacocks in the snow? You mean they survive in garden zones 1-7? In the winter, we do dip down in the low 30s (and on rare occasions even in the 20s) here in La Cresta, so I was secretly hoping that my neighbors would relocate their peafowl in times of serious winter distress. Sheeeoooot! Anyhoo. Your bouquet sounds cool. I have made some questionable bouquets out of natives and so-called 'weeds' over the years, but they always trump roses in my book...

  9. Peacocks can be eaten. Just sayin'!
    Came over from reading the sad news about Roger Higson. Your post cheered me up.

  10. Silver Horde, being part Chinese, my first thought was, hey - are peacocks edible? Anyways, thanks for visiting over from Roger's blog. He was one-of-a-kind, and I'll truly miss him.