For Northern California succulent lovers, one of the biggest events in the spring is the April plant sale at Ruth Bancroft Garden (RBG) in Walnut Creek, CA. I’ve been to quite a few of them over the years and they’re always high-octane events but this sale seemed to draw even more people than usual. It’s a clear sign that a wider segment of the gardening public is taking an interest in succulents. Water is becoming ever more scarce and expensive in our part of the country and replacing at least some thirsty annuals and perennials with drought-tolerant succulents is a great way to conserve water.
I arrived a few minutes early and took the opportunity to photograph the plantings along the entrance road. As you can see, they are stunning in their own right.
|North entrance. The road leads to the garden entrance on the right and to a parking area.|
|View in the other direction toward Bancroft Road, a busy four-lane street|
Then 9am rolled around and it was off to the races. I had to balance my desire to check out all the plants for sale with my duty to take as many photos as possible so you can experience the sale vicariously. Enjoy!
|Silent auction table|
|This Agave ‘Royal Spine’ in a 7-gallon container was in the silent auction with a retail value of $95. I bid on it but didn’t win.|
|More agaves, including the ever impressive Agave franzosinii, |
one of the largest agave species (to 8ft tall x 10ft wide)
|Smaller agaves, including ever popular and beautiful ‘Blue Glow’ on the right|
|One of my favorite agaves, Agave bovicornuta. Check out the cinnamon-colored spines!|
|Mangave ‘Macho Mocha’|
|Aloe pratensis and Sedum dendroideum|
|Sedums and echeverias against the backdrop of what might be Agave franzosinii|
|Coreopsis gigantea, a Southern California native. They had at least a half a dozen 2-gallon plants when I got there, and within 30 minutes they’d all been snatched up. I grabbed one, too—hard to resist at $12 for such a rare plant (I paid more than that for a plant half that size at Cactus Jungle recently).|
|I can’t remember what the theme of this table was but I was fascinated by the alien-looking fuzzy things…|
|…which turned out to be Salvia argentea, a Mediterranean native|
|I like unexpected touches of beauty, like this bouquet sitting on a chair for no real reason|
|Aeniums, irises and Senecio mandraliscae (the blue plants on the ground)|
|Aeonium undulatum and Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’|
|One of several cactus tables|
|Agave cactus (Leuchtenbergia principis) for $10, a very good deal (but I already have one)|
|View towards the garden entrance (next to the twin palm trees)|
|View of the shade structure from a different angle|
|Cactus garden, with mature specimens of ferocactus in the foreground|
|Small pond near the garden entrance|
|Large Queensland bottle tree (Brachychiton rupestris)|
|Aeonium arrangement in a hypertufa container|
|Fancy echeverias and a variety of container gardens in the lath house at the garden entrance|
|I really like these small dish gardens and bought one as a gift|
|Container garden in a bonsai dish|
|Succulent picture frames in various sizes…|
|These weren’t cheap but there are quite a few plants packed in there|
|Main entrance at the Folly. People could leave their purchases here and bring their cars around for loading. At the left is the membership table, the tables on the right (barely visible) are the cashiers where you pay for your plant purchases.|
So what did I buy? In addition to the three plants below, I also bought a couple of small dish gardens as gifts, a white-flowered catkin grevillea (Grevillea synapheae), and nice-sized Ferocactus latispinus already planted in a nice terracotta pot.
|Agave bracteosa ‘Monterrey Frost’|
If these photos piqued your interest, RBG will have another plant sale on Saturday, July 21, from 9am (members only) / 10am (public) to 3pm.
During my visit yesterday, I also took a lot of plant photos not related to the sale. Click here to view them.