Friday, April 26, 2013

Ruth Bancroft Garden 2013 spring plant sale

A couple of weekends ago I attended the spring plant sale at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, CA. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know that this is one of my favorite public gardens in Northern California and that I try to go to every one of their sales. Not only is it great fun to browse hundreds upon hundreds of fantastic plants, many of them rare or brand-new introductions, it’s also a great opportunity to spend some time checking out what’s new in the garden or visiting old “friends.”

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I could spend all day walking through the Ruth Bancroft Garden

In fact, the sale tables are scattered throughout the garden, so by the time you’ve looked at all of them you’ve walked through a large part of the garden. I like to bring our old Red Flyer wagon so I don’t have to hand-carry my plant picks as I explore and photograph.

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Aloes in bloom

This post is a little different from what I’ve done before. Instead of splitting it into two parts, one covering the plant sale and the other the garden, I’ve decided to make it one big post with lots of photos. The sequence roughly follows the route I took through the garden. This will give you a better idea of what it’s like to be there in person. I’ll keep the commentary to a minimum so you can focus on the beautiful plants.

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Echeverias from Succulent Gardens

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Succulent arrangements

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Great way to display your cactus collection

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Another arrangement I liked

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New miniature aloe hybrids

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Is the pregnant onion making a comeback?

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Dyckia ‘Silver Superstar’ (silent auction plant)

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Hechtia texensis (silent auction plant)

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Tylecodon dinteri (silent auction plant)

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Opuntia basilaris (silent auction plant)

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30% off table

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30% off table

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Agave selections

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Agave ovatifolia ‘Frosty Blue’. One of the smaller ones came home with me. The large specimen was stunning but at $100 too pricey for me.

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Agave ‘Snow Glow’

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Agave mitis var. albicans

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Agave mitis var. albicans and Lampranthus roseus

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Lampranthus roseus, a bushy iceplant

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Euphorbia echinus

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Euphorbia inermis var. huttonae

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Euphorbia inermis var. huttonae

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Euphorbia caput-medusae

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Agave parryi var. neomexicana

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Queensland bottle tree (Brachychiton rupestris)

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Ferocactus glaucescens

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Sempervivum arachnoideum

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Ferocactus pottsii

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Ferocactus pottsii

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Miscellaneous prickly pears and chollas

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Opuntia with particularly large glochid bundles

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Agave colorata

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Agave colorata

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Claret cup (Echinocereus triglochidiatus subsp. otacanthus)

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Even in death this agave is beautiful

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Paper spine cactus (Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus)

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Yucca treculeana (left: trunk of a mature specimen, right: flower of a smaller specimen)

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Opuntia microdasys

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Unidentified cholla (Cylindropuntia sp.)

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Another unidentified cholla (Cylindropuntia sp.)—sorry for being so vague but I’m really bad at ID’ing chollas

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Opuntia robusta (?)

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Opuntia robusta

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Parodia magnifica

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Cactus bed

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Golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii)

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Golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii)

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Echinopsis formosa

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Shoppers

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Sale table with majestic Agave franzosinii in the background

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Agave franzosinii, Lampranthus roseus, and cart with restios

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Restios

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Lampranthus roseus

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Lampranthus roseus

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Agave sebastiana

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Agave sebastiana

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Agave attenuata

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Sale tables glimpsed through the agave bed

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Sale tables glimpsed through the agave bed

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Agave guadalajarana

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Drosanthemum micans

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Drosanthemum micans

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Glottiphyllum linguiforme

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Silver dyckia growing among a sea of euphorbias

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Echeveria cante

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Echeveria elegans and Aloe capitata var. quartziticola

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Echeveria elegans, Aloe capitata var. quartziticola and Echeveria ‘Lace’

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Echeveria ‘Lace’

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Unidentified flowering aloe

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RBG nursery

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View of nursery

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Interesting cart filled with sale plants

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Agave franzosinii

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Agave franzosinii

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Agave franzosinii

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Agave franzosinii

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Agave striata

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Agave striata and Agave bovicornuta

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Hesperaloe parviflora ‘Brakelights’.
This cultivar has darker red flowers than the species.

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Yucca carnerosana

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Yucca carnerosana

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Yucca carnerosana

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Brunsvigia josephinae, a rare South African bulb, growing near a Yucca flaxoniana

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Arctostaphylos 'Ruth Bancroft'

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Puya berteroniana with massive flower spikes

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Bottle brush (Callistemon sp.)

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And finally a few photos of my haul from the plant sale:

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Agave mitis var. albicans, Agave guadalajarana, Leucadendron ‘Jester’, Delosperma ‘Fire Spinner’, Acacia pravissima (another 30% bargain I couldn’t pass up), Agave ovatifolia ‘Frosty Blue’ 

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Leucadendron ‘Jester’—so happy I finally found one!

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Agave mitis var. albicans and Agave guadalajarana, the latter from the 30% off table (at $2.80, I couldn’t pass it up)

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Agave ovatifolia Frosty Blue’, a much bluer cultivar than the species

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The 2013 spring sale had the best plant selection yet. I spoke with nursery manager Walker Young, and he said that they’ve broadened their offerings in general, especially when it comes to proteaceae such as leucadendrons, grevilleas and banksias. I also noticed that many agaves were from San Marcos Growers in Santa Barbara. This was the first time I’ve seen their plants in Northern California. They propagate many hard-to-find succulents and I hope to see even more of their plants at the next sale.

Speaking of future sales: The Ruth Bancroft Garden has two more scheduled for 2013: Saturday, July 20 and Saturday, October 5. For more information, go to the RBG website.

7 comments:

  1. The plants on offer, not to mention the permanent plantings are sumptuous! My heart palpitates at the idea of attending their plant sale, wish we could!!

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    1. You have to time your next California trip just right so it coincidences with a plant sale at RBG :-).

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  2. Surely you put one of those restios into the wagon for eventual shipping to me, right? :)

    It doesn't look too crowded -- was it? Seems like a not-to-miss event for plant lovers! BTW, I'm a sucker for the discount tables.

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    1. I was actually thinking of you but all the restios they had were in 5-gallon pots and quite heavy.

      Since the sale tables were distributed throughout the garden, there wasn't much crowding in any one area (except for the entrance). You may not be able to tell from my photos, but there were loads of shoppers. Plants were flying off the tables like hot cakes. I have no idea how much money RBG made, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was a new record.

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  3. Uhm....love that Agave mitis var. albicans...and how lucky am I that it's now in my collection! (Unless you bought one for yourself?) Thank you Gerhard!

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  4. Those are great selections you have Gerhard. Now, I am anxious to see all these awesome specimens are planted in your garden. Of course you have been great in showing us a photo. Looking forward to your next post. :)

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  5. Hi

    I found this site trought a TV program in Portugal, firts of all I found it very interesting and I which one day have the oportunity to visit this garden, however was very inte to see several spcicies insise a woud box from a Portugueses famous winw (Porto Wine Taylor´s), if one day I have the oportunity to visit your garden I promise that I will tak a bootle with me as an ofer.
    Regards

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