Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


The Ruth Bancroft Garden — Summerized

Here are the rest of my Ruth Bancroft Garden photos, mostly from my second visit to the garden, after the cold frames were taken down. Most of the plants outside of the cold frames are fairly common in Bay Area dry gardens these days, but I didn’t know a lot of the cactus species that had been under the frames. It was definitely worth the second visit to see them out of their plastic winter wrappers.

This photo and the next three are plants that don’t need winter protection in the Walnut Creek, so they were outside of the cold frames my first visit.

Even without the frames, there’s still a funky desert aesthetic created by some of the homemade staking.

The garden has some cool big yuccas.

This tree aloe was in the cold frame on stilts. Someone told me that in a single year they once lost 5 or 6 tons of aloes from a frost, hauling away whole dumpster loads of them.

NY Times and SF Gate did articles with photos of Ruth Bancroft and the garden when she turned 100 last year.

— The San Jose Mercury News has an article about some new work going on at the garden, with photos of the garden throughout the years.

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7 Responses to “The Ruth Bancroft Garden — Summerized”

  1. May 5th, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Gayle Madwin says:

    I’m not a big fan of cacti and would not really want them in my yard, but the glowing white ones do make quite a visual statement.

  2. May 5th, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    ryan says:

    I kind of agree and generally prefer other succulents over cactus, but I really like the glowing white ones, and I think the golden barrel cactus is beautiful.

  3. May 5th, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Town Mouse says:

    I read the articles about Ruth, and they really gave me hope. She was still puttering around in her 90s… And just look at the results!

  4. May 5th, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    ryan says:

    Exactly. Let’s hope gardening is the secret to reaching 100 years old.

  5. May 8th, 2010 at 7:43 am

    Kelly Betti says:

    Great photos. I have been meaning to check out these gardens and will now move it up on my (fun) To Do list! Thanks for the links to the articles on Ruth Bancroft. I love the story of her buying her first succulent in the 1950s – the descendents of which are still thriving in the garden. Very cool.

  6. May 9th, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    lostlandscape (James) says:

    Love the “friendly” fuzzy cactuses, and so apparently did the gardener.

    I’d have never thought to quantify aloes in terms of tons, but it sure says a lot about the amount of lost plant material. I couldn’t imagine the work it’d take to winterize a really large aloe, but with my largest plant now sick from something mysterious, I can see how you wouldn’t ever want to lose one of these specimens.

  7. May 9th, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    ryan says:

    KB – It’s definitely one to put near the top of the list. Not too many gardens in the Bay Area date back to the 50’s, so it’s great place to see so many mature specimens.

    J – I thought it was interesting to think about tons of aloes too. I don’t know too much about the big aloes, I guess because they aren’t very hardy up here. They’re pretty cool.

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