Succulents and more at the Ruth Bancroft Garden

Last Saturday, after I had safely stowed my haul from the Ruth Bancroft Garden plant sale in my car, my camera and I took a leisurely stroll through the garden.

I didn't have to go far for my first photo stop. These beauties caught my eye right at the garden entrance:

Backlit cactus always make for great photos


Agave salmiana 'Butterfingers'. It's a beast! I got one a few years ago but it's corraled in a pot and hasn't grown much.

Agave parrasana 'Fireball'. The variegation is subtle, just around the leaf edges.

Inside the garden there are so many plants to see, I still feel pulled in all directions every time I visit. And I've been to the RBG dozens of times!

This old Opuntia robusta is loaded with fruit this year. In Mexico, the fruit is called tuna, and it's used in everything from drinks to candies and jellies. Or it's eaten raw. It can be sweet or tart, depending on the species and degree of ripeness.

Mangave sending out a massive flower stalk

Yucca treculeana (my guess)

Agave ovatifolia

Another Agave ovatifolia. They're all over the garden and will only become spectacular over time.

Agave cerulata

Agave franzosinii being irrigated

Yucca 'Bright Star' and Agave ovatifolia

An adolescent Queensland bottle tree (Brachychiton rupestris)

Agave mitis in the foreground. The flower stalks behind it are from Agave bracteosa.

I love the multiple layers of color and texture here

A relatively recently planted palo verde provides a bit of protection for these agaves

Agave parrasana (front) and Aloe tomentosa (back)

Agave parrasana (or a parrasana hybrid) sending up an impressive flower stalk

More beauties in the area I call "Agaveland"

This jelly palm (Butia capitata) is ripe with fruit

Grevillea ‘Kings Fire’. Planted just last year, it's had flowers every time I've visited this year.

Grevillea ‘Kings Fire’ flower

Grevillea ‘Kings Fire’ with Agave ovatifolia in the background

Eremophila nivea from western Australia. I must have one!

Agave ovatifolia in the foreground, with palo blanco (Mariosousa willardiana) behind it

Palo blanco (Mariosousa willardiana), an acacia native to northwestern Mexico. I love the peeling bark.

Leucadendron 'Ebony'. Every single specimen at the RBG looks better than the straggly little thing I have.

Variegated (and non-variegated) Agave attenuata

Fan aloe (Kumara plicatilis). Will my two plants ever bulk up like that?

Brunsvigia josephinae, or candelabra lily, is a bulb in the amaryllis family native to South Africa. I've never caught it at its peak. It looks like I missed it by a week or two.


  1. I wish I could find a nicely variegated Agave attenuata like that. Meanwhile, I'm adding Agave cerulata to my must find list.

  2. So many agave types! this post makes me green with envy! Here I can only find A. americana and A. Potatorum. Thanks for sharing these tantalizing beauties!

  3. 'King's Fire' looks promising here too. My A. cerulata ssp. subcerulata looks just like that one -- lots of variability with this agave.

  4. I thought I had seen it all, after having just devoured 'The Bold Dry Garden', filled with photos of Ruth and her garden. Your photos are great, and reveal even more aspects of this stupendous garden.

  5. I kick myself for not buying the 'Kings Fire' I saw for sale...looks like a good one. The Eremophila nivea too is fabulous (besides the Agaves).

  6. I like seeing what caught your eye that morning Gerhard. I'm going to try and make a point to go back out in late fall, on a morning that is reliably cloudy. People who find overcast depressing should move to Walnut Creek-they will be very happy there. (if they can afford it).

  7. I drool over that plicatilis fan aloe. So nice!!

  8. Oh wow, a new dream plant for me: Eremophila nivea. Gorgeous pictures!


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