Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spring at the Ruth Bancroft Garden

After I’d done all the damage I could at the Ruth Bancroft Garden’s spring plant sale last Saturday, I took a leisurely stroll through the garden. I’ve been here so many times, I’m always afraid of running out of things to photograph. Fortunately, the garden continues to evolve and I always find new things to take pictures of—or I take more photos of my favorite plants.

April is a great time to visit. There is so much in bloom, and the temperatures are still reasonably mild. Join me on as I meander through the garden. You might be inspired to transform your own garden into a miniature RBG!

A big thank you to Brian Kemble, curator of the Ruth Bancroft Garden, for helping me ID some of the plants in these photos.

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One of the first groups of plants visitors see as they enter the garden proper from the parking lot near the office

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This is a good spot to see agaves in bloom

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Agave parryi var. truncata

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Agave franzosinii

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Yucca carnerosana

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Yucca carnerosana

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BOTTOM: Yucca carnerosana  TOP: Yucca rigida

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LEFT: Yucca carnerosana  RIGHT: Yucca rigida

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The comical-looking aloe in the middle is the tilt-head aloe (Aloe speciosa). To the left: Agave tequilana. To the right: Aloe excelsa × cameronii

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Backlit aloe flowers glowing like jewels (according to Brian Kemble, “this […] is an old hybrid whose parentage we do not know, though it clearly has a maculate Aloe in its parentage”)

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I took this photo because of the blooming Leucospermum ‘Succession’ in the lower right

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What a great combination: Purple aeoniums behind an ice-blue whale’s tongue agave (Agave ovatifolia)

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Queensland bottle tree (Brachychiton rupestris)

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Puya coerulea

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One my favorite agaves at the RBG, a hybrid between Agave havardiana and Agava gigantensis. I’ve never seen it offered for sale anywhere.

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Variegated Agave parryi

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Agave parrasana

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Hechtia texensis

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Agaveland

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Xanthorrhoea nana

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Agave colorata × bovicornuta

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Furcraea macdougalii

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Agave cerulata spp. subcerulata

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I love to visit this little guy to see how fast he’s growing (not very). It’s a small boojum tree (Fouquieria columnaris) from Baja California.

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Fouquieria diguetii, a close relative of the ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens), which the RBG also grows (I just need to find out where). I’d been wondering for a long time if it’s possible to grow ocotillo in our area (Walnut Creek has pretty much the same climate as Davis). The secret is lots of heat and good drainage.

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Prickly pear and California poppy tapestry

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Whoever chose this table-and-chair set picked the perfect color

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LEFT: Agave franzosinii RIGHT: Aloidendron ‘Hercules’

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Juvenile Agave ovatifolia

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Bloomed-out Agave schidigera ‘Durango Delight’

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LEFT: Aloe capitata v. quartziticola × cryptopoda   RIGHT: Aloe striata

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Aloe striata

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Aloe striata

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LEFT: Agave salmiana var. ferox ‘Butterfinger’  TOP RIGHT: Agave ‘Mr Ripple’ 
BOTTOM RIGHT: Agave parrasana

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Agave salmiana var. ferox ‘Butterfinger’. I bought a small plant earlier this year. Yikes, it will get big if unleashed!

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TOP: Agave ‘Mr Ripple’   BOTTOM: Agave parrasana

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FRONT: golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii)  BACK: purple broom (Polygala virgata)

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Stenocactus ochoterenanus

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Backlit Cleistocactus hyalacanthus

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Opuntia robusta

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Opuntia robusta

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Yucca rigida

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Yucca rigida

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FRONT: Agave striata  BACK: Agave parryi

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Agave colorata

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LEFT: Manfreda guttata ‘Jaguar’  RIGHT: Echeveria agavoides

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Manfreda guttata ‘Jaguar’

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Agave parryi var. truncata and Euphorbia inermis var huttonae

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Euphorbia inermis var huttonae

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Agave franzosinii

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TOP: Agave gypsophila  BOTTOM: Aloe capitata var, quartziticola

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Echeveria ‘Lace’

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Echeveria ‘Lace’

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Echeveria ‘Lace’

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Echeveria ‘Lace’

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Agave titanota

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LEFT: Agave guiengola  RIGHT: Agave guadalajarana

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LEFT: Agave guadalajarana  RIGHT: Agave nickelsiae

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Agave nickelsiae

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Dyckias in bloom

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Agave mitis getting ready to flower

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Assorted succulents reminding me of an under-the-sea garden

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The agaves at the top are a hybrid similar to ‘Blue Glow’ but dating back to the 1980s (no known cultivar name)

Finally, I’d like to direct you to this video created to solicit support for the new Visitor and Education Center Project at the Ruth Bancroft Garden. It gives a great overview of the history of Walnut Creek, the Bancroft property, and the RBG. Plus, you get to see quite a few of the plants I featured in this post. Don’t miss this video!

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MORE INFO

12 comments:

  1. Wonderful garden, wonderful photos -- oh, those blooming yuccas...! Good video, too [Salvia pachyphylla at 3.24!!! How I love that plant...]. Hope the new Visitor and Education Center Project will be a rousing, barn-raising success.

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    1. I, too, hope the Visitor and Education Center will become a reality. It would propel the garden into the 21st century as far as facilities and revenue opportunities goes.

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  2. So lucky to be able to visit this legendary garden regularly. One day we'll make it :)

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    1. And it's getting better every year thanks to the wonderful folks working and volunteering there.

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  3. Brings back memories of our visit during the fling. How cool that you can visit regularly! Love this place! Agave colorata is going on my list. Thanks for another drool -worthy tour!

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    1. The temperatures were MUCH more pleasant last Saturday than during the 2013 Garden Bloggers Fling :-)

      I have several Agave colorata, and each one has its own unique look. A super cool species!

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  4. I'm always concerned that I'll cease to find something new to photograph when I visit Cistus. Of course that's just crazy, there's always something new, and if not it's nice to revisit old favorites. BTW yes, I am inspired to transform my own garden into a miniature RBG...darn climate.

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    1. The RBG has been adding a lot of interesting companion plants: leucospermums, leucadendrons, and other goodies from the southern hemisphere. Plus, I'm seeing more agaves from Baja California. It's amazing how much new stuff there is to look at whenever I go (every three months or so).

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  5. Great photos as usual! I didn't know that the flower color of Aloe striata could vary. I have to visit that garden one day.

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    1. Like you, I associate Aloe striata with red flowers but the RBG also has plants with orange flowers. They have a lot of unusual aloes, seeing how curator Brian Kemble is a renowned aloe expert.

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  6. Xanthorrhoea nana? You don't say....didn't know there were smaller species.

    And colorata x bovicornuta, wow! Love the flowers on mitis, can't wait to see mine. Usually I'm bummed when an agave flowers, but not this time.

    Very comprehensive tour, Gerhard. Don't worry, we'll never tire of tours of the RBG.

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    1. Yes, Xanthorrhoea nana is a much smaller grass tree. It only grows to 2 ft. (and even that takes forever). Like most xanthorrhoeas, availability is a huge issue. As in: they're impossible to find.

      There are several sources for Agave colorata x bovicornuta. The RBG nursery carries it as does Greg Starr (he sells his under the clever cultivar name 'Mad Cow').

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