Following the closure of HMP Ashwell in 2011, Oakham in Bloom was invited to the site to see if there were any plants that could be useful for our many planting schemes in Oakham.
There were no suitable plants, but we did see a large frame in the shape of a Peacock, which we had seen, fully planted years before. We enquired of Rutland County Council (RCC) if we could try to “rescue” the Peacock and arrange for it to be placed in a prominent position in Oakham and planted up to restore it to its former glory. The officers of RCC were very enthusiastic about the project and permission to remove the peacock was obtained from the Ministry of Justice.
A suitable site for the Peacock was identified, and agreed with Rutland County Council and Oakham Town Council, in the gardens at the back of Oakham Library.
The Parks and Gardens department of Nottingham City Council offered their help and gave valuable advice and tips on planting such a structure – they are responsible for all the large floral displays on many Nottingham roundabouts and a floral Robin Hood and Maid Marion in Nottingham Castle grounds.
Teresa Thompson, gardening co-ordinator for Oakham in Bloom designed the planting scheme and in 2012 the Peacock moved in to its new home with our volunteers undertaking the planting and maintenance.
The main part of the body was planted with approx 2500 sedums and sempervivums to give a rich green and splash of purple colour. Various carex (grasses) were used for the head and to simulate wings on the body.
The main tail section is planted twice a year and in 2012 the colour scheme was chosen to celebrate the Queens Jubilee, with a profusion of purple salvias, scarlet geraniums and begonias, and highlights of golden French marigolds.
The Peacock has transformed the area and receives many visitors, especially during the summer.