Daytrip: The Ruth Bancroft Garden

Ironically, it was a rainy morning last March that we finally paid a visit to one of the most acclaimed dry gardens in California. The Ruth Bancroft Garden collection is a private collection turned public, made up of an incredible collection of plants from Mediterranean climates and other dry climates around the world, in Walnut Creek, California—and is an inspiration to anyone interested in gardening with succulents.

We took the kids out for a self-guided tour, and I’ve been meaning to share some pictures. If you’re in the area, I definitely recommend paying a visit.

We found Euphorbia trying to escape the green house.

And beds of colorful, tender succulents that prefer the filtered sun.

Giant palms and yuccas frame quiet sitting areas.

Robust Agaves form massive clumps along pathways—many years old, and many feet wide.

When the sun peeked out, we made a second loop of the 3-acre garden and gave the kids crayons and notebooks to draw their favorite plants. Many look straight out of Dr. Seuss.

It’s incredible to think that Ms. Bancroft—who turned 108 last year and still lives on site—planted so many of these giants by hand. It’s such an amazing collection!

Beyond the garden, there is also a nursery, if you feel inspired to bring anything home, as well as contacts for garden consultations. And if you’re interested in seeing or learning more, but aren’t able to pay a visit, there’s a wonderful book called The Bold Dry Garden that was published recently.

P.S. Our backyard. And one of my favorite backyard inspiration photos. Plus, visiting the Huntington Desert Gardens.

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