On our recent road trip we visited the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, California. We met up with ace blogger/photographer Gerhard from SucculentsAndMore. While I wandered the garden and did some plant-talking with Gerhard, Beloved took photos--all of the photos in this post are his.
A pond acts as a striking contrast to a garden of dry climate plants
RBG's distinctive shade structure. In winter, draped with plastic sheeting, it becomes a shelter protecting the plants beneath from excess cold and moisture:
Aloes were in bloom
My previous and only visit was in 2013 on the San Francisco Garden Blogger's Fling. I recall that it was really hot and that I was really tired. The reactions of garden bloggers from non-Mediterranean/non-arid climates was interesting--some were fascinated by xeric plants, others baffled. Since 2013, the RBG has added a plant sales facility to raise money for the garden, as well as adding many new plants and improvements to the garden itself.
Agave gypsophila with its undulating leaves
Many beds have had mounded soil added to create excellent drainage. The scale of the RBG is much different from the scale of the Huntington Desert Garden. The RBG is more personal and intimate.
Two different Euphorbias
This is a beautiful area. The Garden received many specimen-sized Agave ovatifolias as gift; they were scattered throughout the garden, including that grand one near the lower center of the photo.
Hesperaloe and Cholla
Acacia, with pink-flowering Ceiba in the background.
A very old Opuntia, its once succulent pads turning into woody trunk. Mrs. Bancroft's original plantings were of the tiny potted succulents she'd collected. As so many of us have collections of tiny potted succulents--it shows that not many collections become something like this!
Beautiful Oak---Quercus lobata?
The individual flowers are quite beautiful
Acacia pendula is the silvery drape on the left of a very interesting Agave clump.
The only drawback of the visit--on a weekday morning we basically had the place to ourselves--was the drilling of a new water well for the garden. The drilling equipment took up little room, but the noise it made may have explained the total lack of other visitors. The drilling was almost complete, so don't worry about racket should you visit. We had great sympathy for the staff, as the drilling was a two-week-long project. I'm surprised they could all still hear.
The sales area made up for the drill. Plant Shangri-La indeed!
Blogger in shopping mode moves fast. The blonde shirtless surfer-gardener-bro in the background is the mannequin boyfriend of the Annie's Annuals mannequin lady. Or so we joked.
Though the search was on for a Banksia, we ended up with Leucospermum 'Spider' and Aloe hereroensis, both for bargain prices.