Friday, December 5, 2014

Ruth Bancroft Garden in December

After selecting my plants at the recent Black Friday sale at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, CA, I took a stroll through the garden itself. Fortunately, the rain had stopped by then, and at times the sun was making a valiant effort to break through the clouds. The weather was definitely a deterrent that day: I only saw two other people while I was walking around. I practically had the place to myself!

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Shade structure housing tender succulents covered for the winter

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Agave salmiana

As you can see, the winter/rain covers were already in place. I wrote a post four years ago about winter protection at the RBG; click here to check it out.

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Aloe peeking through the plastic

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Rain protection for cactus

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LEFT: Yucca endlichiana  RIGHT: Agave stricta

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Agave parrasana

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Agave franzosinii

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Agave shawii

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Agave shawii

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Agave shawii ssp. shawii

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Agave thomasae, a rare suckering species from Guatemala

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Agave bovicornuta

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Agave bovicornuta

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Agave bovicornuta

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LEFT: Agave striata   RIGHT: Agave parryi var. truncata

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Lotsa yuccas

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Yucca rostrata

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Yucca carnerosana

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Yucca carnerosana (on the left with Yucca rigida peeking out over the top)

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Hesperoyucca whipplei, done blooming and now dying

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Hesperoyucca whipplei var. parrishii

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A baby boojum tree!! This is the first time I’ve noticed it. Boojum trees (Fouquieria columnaris), one of the signature plants of Baja California, are an exceedingly rare sight in Northern California. As you can see from the photo, it’s planted high to ensure good drainage.

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Aloe microstigma

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Aloe microstigma

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Sturt’s desert pea (Swainsona formosa) next to Agave americana ‘Mediopicta Aurea’

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Aloe glauca

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Aloe ferox

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Aloe ferox

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Aloe melanacantha—I love the black spines!

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Aloe ‘Hellskloof Bells’, a hybrid between Aloe distans and Aloe pearsonii, created by RBG curator Brian Kemble in 1991. Check out the stunning flowers here.

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Agave potatorum hybrid × colorata

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Agave parrasana × colorata, created by RBG curator Brian Kemble

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Agave colorata × bovicornuta

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Agave havardiana × gigantensis in front of Encephalartos natalensis, a cycad from southern Africa

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Aloe rubroviolacea from Yemen

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Unidentified aloe about to bloom

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LEFT: Unidentified arborescent aloe in front of a eucalyptus tree   RIGHT: Aloe ‘Hercules’

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Lily pond. Many visitors are surprised to find a pond in the middle of the garden.

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Agave ‘Mr. Ripple’

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Euphorbia echinus

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Aloe broomii, Agave schidigera, unidentified opuntia and unknown columnar cactus

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Valley oak (Quercus lobata) towering over agaves asserts a sense of place: in spite of the many exotic plants, we are in Northern California after all!

You would think that after having visited the Ruth Bancroft Garden so many times I wouldn’t find anything to discover. Far from it. The garden staff and volunteers are constantly redoing beds and/or adding new plants. Major work is ongoing along the Bancroft Road side where new beds are being installed. I can’t wait for this project to be completed next year.

Thank you to Brian Kemble, RBG curator, for providing some of these plant identifications.

9 comments:

  1. When I visit you Gerhard -- and I will someday -- we must spend some hours here. Is it better during winter or summer?

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    1. Of course! It would be so much fun to show you around. I think the best time for a visit would be spring or fall. Summer is too hot, and right now many plants are covered in plastic to protect them from the rain (and cold).

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  2. Ah, it's looking good. Everything happy after a long hot dry summer. Funny the glauca and microstigma there looks so much better than the glauca at San Diego BG.

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    1. Yes, I was glad to see everything looking so good. They have outstanding staff and volunteers at the RBG who take great care of everything.

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  3. That image of the Agave striata and Agave parryi var. truncata has me feeling all dreamy.

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  4. I love it when your eye for composition picks up RBG's eye for composition, as with the second-to-last photo and so many others. At this time of year, I'm thinking what a nice calendar these photos would make...

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  5. We never get tired of seeng photos of this garden. We'll get to see it in the flesh one day, hopefully soon...

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  6. Your pictures of the garden always look amazing Gerhard. Thanks for sharing and look forward to seeing you when you next visit.

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  7. Very cool to see the coverings they use. And a boojum tree! That is awesome. Nice to see what my melanacantha will look like.

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