Friday, March 30, 2012

The Ruth Bancroft Garden; Part 2, the garden

When I first met JJ, and we were comparing notes on our Agave collections, she was adamant that I must visit the Ruth Bancroft Garden. So isn’t it fitting that when I finally did it was with her? This is the scene visible from the street…

All of these beauties are growing outside the garden! Talk about great advertising…(you’ll have to forgive me for not getting many names on this tour, I let myself just be carried away by the splendor and didn’t get all documentary)

Agave victoriae-reginae
Agave Ferdinand Regis

Aloe broomii, about to bloom…

Aloe brevifolia
Everywhere we went in California the Ceanothus were in bloom, this vibrant plant was growing adjacent to the parking lot. I believe it is C. ‘Dark Star.’

And we enter the garden…
The Ruth Bancroft Garden is approximately 3 ½ acres, planted on a former walnut orchard. In 1972 the beds and paths were laid out by garden designer Lester Hawkins, but the plantings were all arranged and done by Mrs. Bancroft. She had been growing potted succulents in greenhouses surrounding her nearby home and finally, with the phasing out of the orchard, she was able to get her specimens in the ground.

Back then the garden was private, however upon visiting the garden in 1989, and discussing the lack of preservation plans with Mrs. Bancroft, Frank Cabot was inspired to form The Garden Conservancy (a national organization founded by Mr. Cabot to preserve America’s exceptional gardens), this garden was its first project.

Ruth Bancroft is now 104 years old, I heard she made an appearance at the last plant sale.

On the right is Hesperoyucca whipplei var. eremica, on the left Manfreda 'Macho Mocha.’
Close up of the Hesperoyucca whipplei…
Agave parryi var. truncata
Echium of some sort (I believe)...
This variegated Agave parryi stopped me in my tracks. I was almost tempted to do an entire post on it alone so you would be sure to properly appreciate it's beauty.
I've never seen anything like it **swoon**...

Manfreda undulata 'Chocolate Chips' I believe...
Here we have a blooming (or about to bloom) Agave geminiflora

And it's wavy pup...
Peeking over the Opunita is a much larger Hesperoyucca whipplei
Fabulous!
Agave americana 'Variegata'
Obviously a Euphorbia, but I have no idea which one...
A river of blue Senecio mandraliscae

Aloe striata
Looks like protection from the rains? I'm surprised they don't rot under there with no air circulation...

Bloomed out dead mother, and pup.

Yucca treculeana

Look at the label...do you suppose that means this Yucca was planted from seed in 1968?
The bloom is HUGE...

This Agave obviously believes in sending its pups out, far away from home.

These plants were all under cover but it was large enough that you could walk through.
Can you see the hummingbird enjoying the Aloe flowers?

Here's a close up...
Ah, my old plant crush...Aloe capitata var. quartziticola. I fell in love with this plant when we visited the Berkeley Botanical Garden in 2009. This is only the second one I've seen.

And that concludes our visit to the Ruth Bancroft Garden, I'm so glad I finally got to visit! Thanks JJ for making it possible.

38 comments:

  1. Oh my, oh my, oh my...I'm almost wordless.

    What a wonderful, wonderful garden. I can't believe we were so close last September and I missed this. Yes, the variegated Agave parryii is spectacular, but that Agave Ferdinand Regis with its black thorns and fabulous markings has captured my heart. Must. Have. One. Thank you for this treat of a tour, especially on this bleak wet day here in Portland!

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    1. Yes indeed the Agave Ferdinand Regis is one to covet! (you've got great taste Jane) I spotted a few small plants in one of the Cistus Greenhouses last month. If you call ahead I bet they'd bring a couple out for you to look at (40% off through April!) or when I was at B&B Cactus Farm last fall they had several wonderful specimens. They ship too if you call them and know what you want.

      (http://dangergarden.blogspot.com/2012/02/b-cactus-farm-tucson.html)

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  2. That was such a wonderful garden tour! thanks for that! I hope one day to find a variegated agave parryi like that one ... AMAZING!!!

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    1. I asked about the A. parryi, just in case they had some pups potted up. No such luck, although there was a tiny one in the ground just a foot or so away from the mama plant. Oh and it was still in the ground when I left, just for the record!

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  3. Nice photos Loree !

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  4. Your photos are the best I've ever seen of RBG. I love love love them. Every time I've been there (a dozen times at least), it's been sunny and it's much more difficult to take decent photos.

    Aloe capitata var. quartziticola: Not only my favorite aloe, one of my favorite succulents. I've never seen one for sale, not even at RBG.

    The variegated Agave parryi is also stunning but again, I've never seen one for sale.

    Thank you again for really doing this spectacular garden justice.

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    1. Wow that's quite the compliment, thanks Gerhard!

      I was on a serious hunt for that Aloe after seeing it in Berkeley. I looked around the interwebs again yesterday, just in case it had become more available. Nope. It's a rare one!

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  5. Thanks so much for the visit. I'd never heard of this garden before, but it's not too far from my daughter's home, so I'll look forward to a visit on our next trip to the Bay Area.

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    1. Oh lucky you! You are in for a treat for sure...

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  6. Love the Agave coming up through the Euphorbia resinifera (mental note not to plant any big pupping Agave too close to my E. resinifera when I plant them). The tall Euphorbia is E. lambii. I posted some ten foot specimens on my blog recently.

    Still mad at RBG for being closed when I was there (AND for being closed at the same time as one of the areas other big public gardens...grr...who planned that?) but your tour was very nice and maybe I'll find it in my heart to forgive them.

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    1. I just found your comment in the spam filter...odd eh? Thank you for the i.d.'s!

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  7. I gasped so loudly at that Agave Ferdinand Regis! I need one. Fantastic tour, as always. Thanks for posting these!

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  8. Wow! Wow! Wow!

    What a wonderful garden and congratulations on taking some first class photos!

    Not sure which is my favourite, hmmm! That Agave parryi var. truncata is pristine, but that big Yucca with the green leaves and white filaments and that pup which has come out of the bottom and then the unknown Euphorbia as well.

    Thanks for some wonderful Friday night entertainment :)

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    1. Thanks Adam...I didn't even try to pick a favorite, too many beautiful things.

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  9. Must.go.there. And then annoy the staff at Instructables. :P

    The unknown Euphorbia is Euphorbia lambii. w00000t!

    And Agave Ferdinand Regis just made the list. Beautiful markings!

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    1. Thank you for the Euphorbia i.d...and yes, you really must visit!

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  10. Looks like you were in your own personal heaven! I think that Agave with the very prominent imprints form the spines on it's leaves is fascinating.

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    1. Yes! That's one of my fav Agave traits for sure.

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  11. What a gorgeous garden! I am so in love with the line and architecture of so many of those plants. Thanks for sharing...cheers Julia

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    1. Totally different from the gardens in the PNW isn't it?

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  12. I can only imagine that you were like a pilgim to Mecca visiting this garden.

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  13. Fabulous! I second and third all of the comments above.

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    1. Thanks for coming back to walk the garden ricki...

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  14. Beautiful plants, beautifully arranged. So much to love here. Thank you for bringing these photos to us. I hope to see this in person someday.

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  15. What is this?

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-DTTpOIwalDA/T3TBK5cAAqI/AAAAAAAAdeM/LReRwVdXvKw/s1600/RBG+43.JPG

    That's really an odd looking plant!

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    1. I have no idea Jenn, wish I did.

      Anybody???

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    2. That's a xanthorrhoea, commonly called an Australian grass tree. It belongs to the family Xanthorrhoeaceae, which are all native to Australia. It was received as X. australis, but we're not sure if that's the correct identification.

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  16. That Ferdinand Agave is stunning. I'm guessing its a fairly recent introduction?

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    1. You ended up in my spam filter for some reason Justin...and to answer your question I'm not sure! I've been noticing them for a few years now. Still haven't managed to purchase one.

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  17. A stunning garden and equally stunning collection of agaves and other xerophytes! Agave Ferdinandi Regis especially caught my eye, I have yet to see one as beautiful as that in person. Great photography btw, you've done the place and their plants justice :)

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    1. Your right that Agave Ferdinandi Regis is exceptional. I saw several beautiful ones in Tucson, AZ last summer but this one is above and beyond.

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  18. Kathy Bancroft HidalgoApril 05, 2012

    We all enjoyed these wonderful photos. I shared them with my mom, Ruth Bancroft, and she was delighted. You were right about the plant being grown from a seed in 1968. Thanks for making my mom's day!

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    1. Oh Kathy thank you for making my day! I feel so proud to know that Ruth saw my post, it makes me supremely happy. She created such a beautiful place in the world. This just means so much to me.

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