Ruth Bancroft Garden shade structure renovation

The heart of the Ruth Bancroft Garden (RBG) is, quite literally, the metal shade structure that gets wrapped in plastic in the winter to protect the sensitive plants that live there.

The original structure was built in 1972 and, after 48 years, needed rehabbing. In addition, the planting bed had issues with bad drainage and compacted soil. In April, the entire structure was taken down to allow the workers to bring in heavy machinery. In any garden, the work is never over. That's doubly true for a large garden like the RBG.

When I visited in mid-May, the shade structure was back up, additional soil had been brought in to raise the planting mound, and the workers were getting ready to place rocks.

But where are the plants?

Here's one, a large Agave guiengola. It apparently was left in place:

Trays of low-growing / mat-forming succulents were right next to the bed:

The bulk of the plants were tucked away in a corner not far from the shade structure:

Most agaves (like this Agave pablocarrilloi) are tough and can take quite a bit of man-handling and seemingly negligent treatment:

The “star” of the central planting bed, a massive Agave americana 'Variegata', is waiting not far away:

I would have loved to be there when they moved it! It's got to weigh over a ton or more.

I hope to make it back to the RBG in the next month. I bet by then, the plants will be back in their old home.

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  1. It's more like "tractor-handling". It could be exciting to watch (and a little terrifying) as such large plants get pulled out and then replaced.

  2. What a massive effort! I look forward to your update.

  3. They did a nice job redoing structure and berm. When the plants are back in, it will be fabulous.

    I wonder if they made any adjustments to the structure for easier winter protection.

  4. I was going to go this weekend but another outing has superseded. I was last there in January and it was exciting to see the changes. I will be visiting in June for sure !

  5. Thanks for this look at things "deconstructed"... I also look forward to what you see the next time you're there.


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