Ruth Bancroft Garden is a tranquil garden in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Walnut Creek. Nestled behind a fence line, it’s an oasis full of succulents. The garden is a place where you can view exotic and endangered plant life year around, meditate in nature, or view local artist sculptures at one of the many annual events they host each year. Most residents of Contra Costa County have never heard of Ruth Bancroft Garden or what she accomplished with her collection of exotic succulents. Bancroft is not just a street tying Concord, Walnut Creek, and Pleasant Hill together. It’s a landmark dedicated to a great woman who was fascinated by succulents.
Ruth had a passion for plants even as a child living in Berkeley. She explored the undeveloped hills of Berkeley, examining wildflowers and digging up small plants to replant in her own yard. Her early garden included a collection of irises, which she received from Sydney B. Mitchell, the founder of the American Iris Association, and Carl Salbach, an iris breeder.
Graduating from UC Berkeley with a teaching degree, she taught at a school in Merced for a few years before meeting her husband, Philip Bancroft, Jr. and moving to the family farm in Walnut Creek. Her plant enthusiasm only flourished when surrounded by the 400-acre walnut and pear farm, but she was most fascinated with water-conserving plants and collected hundreds of potted succulents, all kept in greenhouses. When Ruth was given approximately 3.5 acres of the farm to plant a new garden, she enlisted the help of Lester Hawkins, co-founder of Western Hills Nursery, to help create the pathways and beds where she transplanted her potted succulent species collection which counted…READ MORE. Get your copy today!