Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


The Bancroft Garden Entrances

I was interested in some of the changes in the Bancroft Garden as it evolves from a quirky private garden to a public one. For instance the entrance was moved from one side of the garden to the other, with a noticeable change in style. I suppose they couldn’t keep it, but there’s something to be said for an entrance that is just a giant agave and a mailbox with the name hand lettered in Sharpie.

The original parking lot was at the eccentric shade house/gazebo.

The better view of the structure is from the inside of the garden where there’s a flagstone patio.

The entrance and main parking lot were moved to the back of the garden so that there would be enough space for a tour bus to turn around. There’s a slick sign and planting on the street at the new entrance, but after parking you walk into the garden through a section that feels very much like the hinterlands; it took me a while to figure out that it actually was the hinterlands. Apparently, there’s a master plan in development that will change that.

The planting at the new entrance looks much newer than all the plantings inside the garden.

As soon as the property ends, the ivy starts. It’s hard to show with photos how completely the garden is surrounded by generic subdivisions.

7 Responses to “The Bancroft Garden Entrances”

  1. May 3rd, 2010 at 9:20 am

    keewee says:

    That is a beautiful garden, with many interesting plants.

  2. May 3rd, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Noelle / azplantlady says:

    Oh, I am just in love with the agaves and aloes. What a beautiful garden 🙂

  3. May 3rd, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Town Mouse says:

    I agree, it’s kind of sad how everything revolves around motorized transportation. Then again, I’ll never make it up there unless I drive (or take a tour bus ;->)

    And the photos are certainly enticing!

  4. May 3rd, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    lostlandscape (James) says:

    Every generic suburb needs an exotic island like the Bancroft! I wonder if that’s how every curious gardener sees their yard, as an amazing island in the middle of generic wasteland…

  5. May 4th, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    ryan says:

    Keewee – Tons of interesting plants. I’ll try to show the rest by tomorrow
    AZ – If you love agaves and aloes, this is the Bay Area garden to visit.
    TM – It would be a drive, but worth a visit someday.
    James – An interesting feature of this garden in a generic suburb is that the generic suburb used to belong to the Bancroft family. They originally had 400 acres of Walnut Creek that they gradually sold off. I have occasionally felt/hoped that BuenoLuna was installing an amazing island in the middle of a wasteland, though usually the neighborhoods we work in are more interesting than that.

  6. May 7th, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    chuck b. says:

    I felt briefly nauseated when you said professionals are taking over this garden in my blog comments. But that entrance looks okay.

    I will be very critical if they take away this garden’s infinite charms and happy accidents for a look more friendly to Garden Design readers.

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

    ryan says:

    I didn’t mean to sound so dire; I just meant that the Ruth Bancroft era was ending. I don’t think ‘professional’ has quite the same meaning for me (garden professional).
    They did well with the new planting. It would take some drastic changes to make this garden look like something from Garden Design, thankfully.

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