The weird, wonderful Ruth Bancroft Garden

The Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, California

What could be better on a cold, blustery November Wednesday than a quick trip to California? This almost-wordless visit takes us to the Ruth Bancroft Garden – the dry climate garden that was the first of many private gardens to come under the protective wing of the Garden Conservancy.

It fills me with joy that Ruth Bancroft began her collection of cacti and succulents when she was in her sixties. Sixties! When we visited in June 2013, she had just celebrated her 105th birthday. Enjoy, and know that it’s never too late to begin your life’s work.



















  1. Hi Helen! Glad to know someone was photographing the plants! Actually, the first time I went I was all about the plants … this time the art. Love your warrior, much better photo than mine. One cool thing about living so close to this garden, I can attend their classes. I've always thought I should, now I think I will!

  2. Thanks for the trip down memory lane! I too was most impressed by the collection of plants & art gathered there. I was going to spy Mrs. Bancroft over the garden fence, if only to with her happy birthday. What a woman…!

  3. I love your pictures, Helen. Such great perspectives, and yes, it's fun to remember this baking hot, weirdly wonderful garden on a chilly day here in Austin.

  4. Yes, it is weird and wonderful, and a real inspiration to anyone who wants to plant a garden. I love the story of how Ruth just got out there and made a garden, and kept it going.

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