Sunday, July 30, 2017

Ruth Bancroft Garden July 2017 private garden tour, part 1

On Saturday I had the pleasure of attending a tour of four private gardens in the Walnut Creek area organized by the Ruth Bancroft Garden (RBG). It doesn't come as a surprise that the focus was on water-wise landscaping--and that succulents featured prominently in all gardens.

The first garden I want to show you belongs to Carol Le Page and her husband. Carol is the Communication and Event Coordinator at the RBG. Their front garden is the result of the very first lawn transformation workshop offered by the RBG a few years ago. Under the direction of Australian plantsman extraordinaire Troy McGregor, at the time the nursery manager at the RBG and now a professional landscape designer with his own company, Gondwana Flora, the workshop participants converted what was a typical lawn-centered front yard into the stunning focal point it is today. The global plant palette combines succulents from the Southwest, Mexico and South Africa with Mediterrean natives and treasures from Australia and New Zealand. The result is a colorful tapestry rich in texture and contrast.

Carol's magazine-worthy front yard

One of three Agave ovatifolia

Stipa gigantea is a perfect foil for Agave ovatifolia

Agave ovatifolia #2

Agava ovatifolia #2, with Desert Museum palo verde (Parkinsonia 'Desert Museum') in the back



Agave 'Blue Glow'

NOID acacia

Agacia cognata 'Cousin Itt' (foreground) with Delosperma 'Fire Spinner' behind it

Delosperma 'Fire Spinner' and golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii)

Delosperma 'Fire Spinner' and Dyckia hybrid

Agave ovatifolia #3

Euphorbia myrsinites

Phylica pubescens

California fuchsia (Epilobium canum) spilling onto a small deck off to the side of the house

California fuchsia (Epilobium canum) and orange Cape balsame (Bulbine frutescens 'Hallmark')

Desert Museum palo verde (Parkinsonia 'Desert Museum')

Grevillea, possibly 'Superb', 'Peaches and Cream' or a similar hybrid

View from the sidewalk
Carol and her husband have every right to be proud of their front garden. It is home to many of my favorite plants, and I love the way they have been combined. This is water-wise landscaping at its finest.


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20 comments:

  1. That Agave ovatifolia is a dream! sheer elegance! I wish I could find it in some nursery here! I only have small Agave potatorum and the classic Agave Americana in pots, I don't plant them in the ground because they get huge very fast! the constant humidity, warm climate and black soil make colossi here.

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    1. It's too bad you have such a limited selection of agaves to choose from in Argentina. Somebody should start a specialty nursery!

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    2. Yes, I'd love to have more agave varieties, today I saw several gargantuan Agave americanas in the street planted by a drainage ditch, they like water more than people think!

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  2. I was really impressed with that garden--sure glad I didn't skip it ! I hope RGB continues to do tours like this.

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    1. Oh and I forgot to mention, I went back and looked at the street view again this morning. Wow! What a transformation.

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    2. I loved this garden. I would be very happy if it were my own!

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  3. They did a great job! I wish Phylica pubescens had fared as well in my garden. It looked great for about 6 months but never looked good following the winter rains and I finally pulled it. I still have a small plant from Annie's, though it's not doing much of anything.

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    1. My Phylica pubescens was the first victim of the summer heat. I need to replace it with something more heat tolerant...

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  4. I really need to plant things like that delosperma in my rather bare front gravel garden. Thanks for the inspiration, and looking forward to more!

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    1. Delosperma should do well in your garden. I think it's too hot for it here.

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  5. The 'Firespinner' hated my garden, malingered a year, then died. So pretty and healthy there. Is that ovatifolia the 'Vanzie' version? What a gorgeous plant.

    Such a beautiful front garden, I bet they don't miss their old lawn every single day. Thanks for the tour. What a great idea of RBG to do that.

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    1. My 'Firespinner' bloomed beautifully this spring. Now it's dead. The same happened with another Delosperma cultivar last year. At yet it looks perfect at Carol's house, pretty much the same climate as here. I wish I knew why.

      I don't know for sure if the Agave ovatifolia is 'Vanzie' but the leaves seem to have a deeper channel than the species. Truly a stunning specimen--all three are.

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  6. I should of signed up for the tour, Carol's garden looks great.

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    1. It really does. You should swing by! It's only 10 minutes from your house.

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  7. Thanks for sharing, your trip. While I like all the planting use and variety, the ramada or pergola with the large globe lights really make the space.

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    1. Shade structures are always a bonus, in my opinion (says the guy who wishes he had one in the backyard).

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  8. How beautiful, thank you for all the photos!

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    1. You're very welcome. I love taking photos of beautiful gardens.

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  9. I need to tune into what's happening at the RBG. Seeing it through your camera is nice consolation however.

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