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!
Shade structure housing tender succulents covered for the winter
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.
Aloe peeking through the plastic
Rain protection for cactus
LEFT: Yucca endlichiana RIGHT: Agave stricta
Agave shawii ssp. shawii
Agave thomasae, a rare suckering species from Guatemala
LEFT: Agave striata RIGHT: Agave parryi var. truncata
Yucca carnerosana (on the left with Yucca rigida peeking out over the top)
Hesperoyucca whipplei, done blooming and now dying
Hesperoyucca whipplei var. parrishii
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.
Sturt’s desert pea (Swainsona formosa) next to Agave americana ‘Mediopicta Aurea’
Aloe melanacantha—I love the black spines!
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.
Agave potatorum hybrid × colorata
Agave parrasana × colorata, created by RBG curator Brian Kemble
Agave colorata × bovicornuta
Agave havardiana × gigantensis in front of Encephalartos natalensis, a cycad from southern Africa
Aloe rubroviolacea from Yemen
Unidentified aloe about to bloom
LEFT: Unidentified arborescent aloe in front of a eucalyptus tree RIGHT: Aloe ‘Hercules’
Lily pond. Many visitors are surprised to find a pond in the middle of the garden.
Agave ‘Mr. Ripple’
Aloe broomii, Agave schidigera, unidentified opuntia and unknown columnar cactus
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.