Exploring the Ruth Bancroft Garden, October 2014 edition
It’s no secret, I love plant sales at the Ruth Bancroft Garden. I have my routine down pat. I’m there before the doors open to members at 9am, and I take no prisoners while I have my shopping hat on. But once my wagon is filled with the things I want, I begin to relax. That’s when I park my wagon and start to walk through the garden itself to enjoy its treasures.
Plantings along Bancroft Road
The plant sale last Saturday was particularly nice in that regard. All the sale activity was in front of the nursery, while the garden itself was mostly empty. This made walking around a very tranquil affair.
Unfortunately, Saturday was another sunny day. Many parts of inland Northern California have close to 300 sunny days a year, which makes photography challenging. In fact, I have yet to visit the RBG on an overcast day!
Still, I did the best I could with what I was given. Here are the plants and sights that caught my eye.
Agave lophanthaAgave guadalajaranaLots of echeveriasAgave titanotaMixed succulentsAgave attenuata, very tenderAgave attenuata ‘Boutin Blue’, Aloe plicatilis and Bromelia balansaeMiscellaneous echeverias and one lone unidentified aloeDyckia fosteriana hybridMiniature aeonium forestMiniature aeonium forestI love seeing more and more cycads added to the garden. This one looks like Dioon edule.Agave ‘Sharkskin Shoes’ in front Opuntia robusta laden with fruitAgave ‘Sharkskin Shoes’ in front Opuntia robusta laden with fruitOpuntia robustaAgave ovatifolia and Echinocactus grusoniiAgave filifera ssp. microcepsAgave parryi ssp. neomexicana ‘Rabid Dog’Agave xylonacanthaBlooming aloesAgave ‘Mr Ripple’Agave ‘Mr Ripple’Dyckia ‘Catfight’LEFT: Queensland bottle tree (Brachychiton sp.) RIGHT: AloesAloe ‘Hercules’Lots of work going on near the north entrance. It’ll be exciting to see what this will look like next year.Aloe ‘Hercules’ on the rightMiscellaneous aloesThis is the first time I’ve seen these epiphytic cactus growing on a palm treeSturt’s desert pea (Swainsona formosa)Sturt’s desert pea (Swainsona formosa)Agave ovatifoliaAloe feroxAgave sp. labeled ‘Davis Mt, Texas’Aloe mutabilis, a smaller relative of Aloe arborescensPonytail palms (Beaucarnea recurvata) relocated from the north entrance where they would get nipped by cold temperatures in the winter. Here they are more sheltered by the overhead tree canopy.Aloe capitata var. quartziticolaAnother new area under construction just inside the wall along Bancroft RoadI believe this is one of garden curator Brian Kemble’s Agave colorata × Agave parrasana crosses. The plant to the left of it is Xanthorrhoea nana, one of the Australian grass trees. This dwarf species will form a short trunk (to 2 ft.) over time.Trio of Agave parrasana, one of my favorite agave speciesAgave havardianaVariegated Agave parryiAgave dasyliroidesAgave havardiana (back) Agave victoria-reginae (front)
This is the north entrance where the ponytail palms you saw above used to be. Lots of golden barrels (Echinocactus grusonii) now. The Agave parryi var. truncata were being thinned out. Another area I look forward to seeing next spring.
In case you didn’t know already: The Ruth Bancroft Garden has a fantastic Tumblr feed. It’s a treasure trove of photos and plant information by Brian Kemble, RBG curator and succulent expert extraordinaire. It’s like getting a different glimpse of the garden with each post.