These are the two guys that make sure the floral peacock is placed in the park each spring. Mike, on the left, is in his late 70’s and has been putting the big bird up for the last 25 years. Don, on the right, is his protege. Both are master gardeners.
Day one: The peacock begins with a metal frame, burlap and landscape fabric, bags and bags of soil and large pieces of Styrofoam. You can see the volunteers stuffing the center with Styrofoam, with the soil filling out the burlap and landscape fabric along the outside of the frame. You just have to think of the peacock as a giant container for planted flowers.
At the end of day one, the bird has its shape and is ready for the flowers, even though the body is separate from the head.
Day two: Many, many flats of wax begonias are used to cover the body and head. At this point, they are still in 2 pieces; it’s easier to plant the head while it’s on the ground. Later, city employees bring a “cherrypicker” or a lift, and place the head on the body. It’s just too heavy to be lifted by people.
Day three: This is the day when volunteers gather to fill the park with lovely bedding flowers. Since Kalamazoo is considered one of the top producers of bedding plants, it is the goal of Kalamazoo in Bloom, a nonprofit organization, to honor this industry by filling the county with beautiful flower displays.
One of the many volunteers helping beautify the downtown park.
On the third day, the master gardeners plant the tail. The weather is perfect for planting.
Finally finished. The peacock is in the park for the rest of the summer. MSU, the agricultural college here in Michigan, asked for the plans to build their own peacock at the entrance to their display and trial gardens. But because they have less room their tail is smaller and is on flat instead of sloped ground. Ours looks better.
A popular spot for photos, especially wedding shots.
Remember, you can click on the photos for a closer view.