You’d think that with as many plants as I already have I’d stop going to plant sales. Far from it. While I typically only buy a few plants, I enjoy seeing what’s available. Plus, there’s always the element of surprise—the thrill of finding something unusual and unexpected.
The Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, CA has a plant sale each spring and fall, and they are among my very favorites. Not only do I get to “hunt” for plants, I also get to enjoy the beautiful collections that make up this world-renowned botanical paradise.
The fall plant sale this past weekend was very well attended and offered a treasure trove of plants, succulents and non-succulents alike. For all of you who weren’t able to go, the photos in this post will give you an impression of what there was to see.
A steady stream of cars heading towards the parking area
Ponytail palms (Beaucarnea recurvata) and Agave parryi at the entrance
Sign-in tables in front of the entrance
Ruth’s Folly (the green metal structure) and hoop houses. This was the first year I noticed pumpkins for sale.
Silent auction table at the entrance
Bags with the garden’s own succulent mix
Terrestrial bromeliads (dyckias and puyas)
Plant tables along the long mounded bed in the center of the Garden
I love how the sale tables are distributed all throughout the Garden…
…which allows you to see mature specimens of many of the plants for sale as you stroll from table to table
Cactus table from a distance…
…and up close
Columnar cacti for sale
These tables contained aeoniums and echeverias
One of the echeveria tables up close
Oleander hedge along the fence, with fruit-laden prickly pears on the left
These tables contained mostly agaves and aloe
The man in the dark red shirt is Brian Kemble, the curator of the Ruth Bancroft Garden
My obsession with Aloe capitata var. quartziticola continues. Both of these were for sale, and both were labeled as the species. However, the one on the right is clearly variety quartziticola. Notice the purple cast and the dark purple spines as opposed to the green color and green spines of the species. It looks a lot like the plant I bought from Arid Lands Nursery this summer. I couldn’t help myself and took this one as home as well. It was the only quartziticola there. All the others were plain capitata.
This time around the selection of agaves was particularly strong. There were many rarely seen species.
This giant Agave salmiana was an imposing presence…
…as was this Agave americana ‘Marginata’
Agave parrasana ‘Meat Claw’
Agave sebastiana ‘Silver Lining’
Agave potatorum ‘Snowfall’
Smaller agaves for $6
Agave americana ‘Striata’, a rarely seen sport (I recently saw a mature specimen at Succulents Gardens)
Agave ‘Sharkskin Shoes’, a naturally occurring hybrid between Agave nickelsiae and Agava scabra
Agave parryi var. neomexicana
Agave ovatifolia (right)
I think Agave ovatifolia is easily one of the most beautiful of all agave species. Unfortunately, it’s a large plant and I don’t have room for one in our garden.
Everything on the special sale tables was 35% off, including…
…and these aeoniums. I bought two one-gallon pots of Aeonium canariense and Aeonium var. rubrolineatum and they were $4.20 each.
Manfreda undulata ‘Chocolate Chips’
Various yuccas, including Yucca rostrata
And here is my trusted Radio Flyer wagon with my plant purchases. I was very selective, as you can see. In addition to the two aeoniums and the Aloe capitata var. quartziticola I already mentioned, I bought an Agave ‘Sun Glow’ (a yellow-edged sport of Agave ‘Blue Glow’), Agave toumeyana var. bella (possibly the smallest agave in cultivation) and a Dyckia fosteriana hybrid (the silver-purple plant on the left).
Tomorrow’s post will have some “plant porn” from the Ruth Bancroft Garden. I took so many photos, I didn’t want to make this post even longer.