For 50 years, The Ruth Bancroft Garden has showcased the collection and works of Bay Area native, Ruth Bancroft. It is home to a wide array of succulents and has become the finest garden of drought-tolerant plants.
As the weather gets warmer and the sun shines longer, outdoor activities are appearing back on our radar with the return of spring. What better way to decompress on the weekends off-campus than at a dry botanical garden in Walnut Creek? The Ruth Bancroft Garden is a three-and-a-half acre dry garden showcasing the beauty of succulents and drought-tolerant plants. The garden and nursery have showcased the beauty of plants through art and design for over 50 years. It not only upholds the legacy of Ruth Bancroft but has become one of the finest botanical gardens in the Bay Area.
Ruth Petersson was born in 1908 and grew up in Berkeley. She studied as an architecture major at UC Berkeley but quickly switched to teaching once the stock market crashed. As she grew older, Petersson met her husband, Philip Bancroft Jr., in Merced where she taught home economics. After the two married, they decided to start their family in Walnut Creek. Not only did they start a family, Ruth Bancroft instantly found her love for plants through gardening and discovering new species. In 1971, the last orchard tree was cut down, and the three-acre lot was open to new life. Her husband immediately offered the land to her as their home garden was overflowing. With this large space, Bancroft’s knowledge and appreciation grew as she learned landscaping design and plant care throughout all seasons. Ruth Bancroft lived up to 109 years old, but her spirit still fiercely lives through the garden and within the community today.
The Ruth Bancroft Garden is a nonprofit organization, raising funds to preserve the garden and create communal space for Walnut Creek. The garden features plants from all around the world. It is a display of Bancroft’s plant collection that has grown for over 60 years. It still even has the very first succulent she purchased. Check it out the next time you’re in Walnut Creek for a chance to walk through the art, design, and natural beauty of plants and Ruth Bancroft’s passion.
(Image Courtesy sfgate.com)
Ryan Ford '23,