Peacocks in gardens.

Sometimes, a plant or a place seems to seep into our sub-conscious so that we eventually sit up and take notice. For me, this has been the Year of the Peacock. Not just living ones strutting their stuff in stately homes, but a motif repeating itself in various forms.

Now for some reason, I was brought up to be wary of peacock feathers – my father had very few superstitions but one of them was a ban on peacock feathers coming into the house. So I gave them a wide berth, though admired their beauty and laughed at the noise they made. In ancient Greece, peacocks symbolised immortality, early Christians felt that the “eyes” on the feathers represented God’s all-seeing presence,a peacock is associated with a Hindu god and then there was the Peacock Throne in Persia.

When we lived in the Forest of Bowland, the Monsignor at our local rural church kept several peacocks in his presbytery garden … until the villagers nearby suggested that they be relocated and peace could reign again. They can be exceptionally noisy.

Their distinctive call recalls walks in grand estates. And so it was in May, as I strolled in the lovely gardens at Malahide Castle, my passage was barred by the most arrogant of birds, who wouldn’t desist until I had fully admired his outstretched plumage, back, front and sideways on.

Peacocks in gardens

It made me think about peacocks as living works of art, their iridescent plumage adding adornment to already beautiful surroundings.

The image was there in my sub-conscious when I attended Bloom, Ireland’s foremost garden Show, and there, receiving a Gold Medal, was a conceptual garden by Paul Doyle with a stuffed peacock at its core. The planting was simple but effusive – Calamagrostis, irises, salvias and Teucrium but my eye was taken with the lovely low railings with a design based on peacock ‘eyes’.

Peacocks in the garden

Paul Doyle’s conceptual peacock garden. Bloom 2014

Later, peacocks featured again at the Dublin Garden Festival – the catering company was Peacock Green and peacock sculptures were on sale.

Dublin Garden Festival 2014

Dublin Garden Festival 2014

And in July, whilst admiring the design of the gardens of ancient Roman villas, overlooking Carthage and the Mediterranean Sea in modern Tunis… yes, beautiful mosaics of peacocks adorned the floors.

Peacocks in gardens

 

I still have a residual wariness of peacocks, but there is no doubt that, as a motif, both living and in art, they have been a part of gardens for thousands of years.

To find our more about:   Peacocks in Art

22 thoughts on “Peacocks in gardens.

  1. I went to a wedding at an acquaintance’s house and was struck by the peacocks in the garden, especially as they walked down a path with scattered with turquoise pottery along the edges – it picked up the iridescence in their feathers and made them a real part of the image of the garden and it was incredibly beautiful. I would love to have some in our gardens but I think that they will have to wait until the very end of the building process, they seem to be such a luxury and the ecosystem would have to be well established to support them.

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    • Wow a wedding with peacocks! And yet they have such presence as well as beauty. No one ignores a peacock!
      I think they are a bit aggressive with other fowl, but maybe that’s an old wives tale! Hope you manage to get one!

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  2. Beautiful birds. My children seem to think we’re getting some when we move (pretty sure I said ‘chickens’). Years ago I used to live in an area where there was a feral one and it used to visit our garden a lot. It looked pretty bizarre amongst the starlings and sparrows.

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    • Had such a smile reading your comment about a feral peacock amongst the sparrows! I think some feral ones have been running amok somewhere in England & got into some poor lady’s house. Had to laugh though!
      Hope your children are happy with the chickens!

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  3. So are they making a comeback? I know the superstition – that it is a symbol of false pride, and that pride goeth before a fall. funny, my friends who have peacock feathers in their homes are all doing well….

    Thanks again for another lovely post. I so enjoy them.

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  4. Your pics are always so beautiful. My brother recently had a peacock stuck in a tree in his backyard. The poor thing kept chirping (I’m not sure what you call the sound a peacock makes). After a couple of days, it remembered it could fly and left 🙂

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    • Thank you! I really smiled about the peacock stuck in the tree; there are certainly more reports of feral peacocks in parts of England … escapees from stately homes I expect. I think “chirping” is a flattering description of their call!

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    • It just shows you how silly some superstitions can be.
      They are the most beautiful creatures & wonderful that they have befriended you. Look forward to reading about Peacock Prairie…

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