Workshops & Programs
 

A special thank you to Contra Costa Water District for sponsoring these workshops! 

Registration instructions here.

Please do not record our educational programs without permission of the instructor.  If permission is received, those recordings may only be used for personal use and reference. 

 
Members Only Education
Each month, Ruth Bancroft Garden staff teach a short course just for garden members. These courses are usually free, and last approximately 20 minutes. For a full list of upcoming Members Only courses, click here.
 
Current Workshops
 
 
 

stone in garden

Working with Stone

Saturday, June 13, 2015

10:00 am to 2:00 pm

*Please note the extended length of this workshop*

SOLD OUT

Join Garden staff for an offsite workshop where we will work together to transform a small garden area into a rock garden ideal for succulents and other drought-tolerant plants.  Learn about the sources for great rock, techniques for installing rock, and design techniques for incorporating rock in a planted garden.

This workshop will be held in Walnut Creek, the specific address will be provided to participants after registration.  This will be a hands-on workshop and participants will be expected to join the staff in the physical transformation of this garden.  Wear clothes to work in and bring garden gloves.

$20 General Admission, $15 Garden Members. Space is very limited, pre-registration is required. Location of workshop will be provided after registration via email.

Members, please call the office to register at member price.

This workshop is Sold Out.

 
 
 
planting companionscontainers

Planting Companions

Saturday, July 25, 2015

10:30 am to 12:00 pm

We all love certain plants for gardens and containers.  The challenge often comes when you need to pair that plant with other varieties to create an interesting yet visually cohesive arrangement. How do you figure out what to plant with what? Come to the garden for a lecture on grouping plants together. We will talk about colors, textures, sun and water requirements, mature plant dimensions, and other factors that you should consider when pairing plants together.

$20 General Admission, $15 Garden Members.

This workshop is sold out.

 
 

Succulents in Seashells

Saturday, August 22, 2015

10:30 am to 12:30 pm or 1:30 to 3:30 pm class.

In honor of Ruth’s passion for seashells as well as succulents, The Ruth Bancroft Garden is pleased to offer a special workshop on combining these beautiful natural materials. Laura Hogan of Arid Accents will demonstrate various techniques for creating and displaying long lasting professional looking mini-gardens in shells. Each participant will receive three large take-home shells (as shown below), plants, soil mixes, and personalized assistance from the instructor. Handouts will also be provided with suggested sources for shells, recommended plant species, and care instructions.

seashell containers

Don’t miss this rare opportunity.

 

$50 General Admission,

$40 Garden Members.

Pre-registration is required. 

Members please call the office to register at member price.


Shells donated by Arid Accents.

 
 

Past Workshop Examples

Similar workshops may be offered in 2015

 

palm sheath

Container Gardening with Organic Materials

This class will focus on creating succulent arrangements with natural materials. Gourds, wooden boxes, and dried organic materials found in the garden make a wonderful base for a succulent arrangement. Laura Hogan, owner of Arid Accents, will create several examples in front of the class while sharing design principles and successful plant combinations for containers.

Following the demonstration, each attendee will be able to create their own masterpiece, using a moss covered branch as the starting point for their creativity.

$25 General Admission, $20 Members Price - Pre-registration is required for this class.

Members, please call the office to register at member price.

gourd

wooden box

 
 
 

Fruit Tasting Tour


When most people think of harvesting fruit, prickly pear cacti do not typically come to mind. With intimidating spines and stubborn glochids, the tasty fruit often gets bypassed for easier fare. The Garden has an abundance of fruit-producing plants which we will sample on this special tour including palm fruit, dragon fruit, and other unique cactus fruits. Additionally, Mrs. Bancroft will let us sample some of the fruit from her private garden including her pineapple guava and a strawberry tree. Join us to figure out which is your favorite and to have a tasty tour at The Ruth Bancroft Garden.

$20 General Admission, $12 Members Price - Pre-registration is required for this tour.
Members, please call the office to register at member price.

 
 
 

Agavaceae and Asphodelaceae Lecture
Saturday, November 15, 2014
9:00am – 12:00pm * Please note early start time.
(Included in Docent training fee)

Discover the wonder of Agaves and Aloes – some of the most popular succulents around! These are some of the largest succulents we have in the garden. Throughout history, these plants have been used for many different purposes: medicinally, as a food source, and more. Join us for an interesting and informative session which will help you identify and distinguish between these great succulent plant families.

The lecture is open to the public but is also a part of the Docent Training course at the garden. Join RBG staff for this in-depth plant identification class in the garden.

$20 General Admission, $15 Garden Members. Space is very limited, pre-registration is highly recommended. Members, please call office to register at member price.

 
 
 

centerpiece with Succulents

 

 

 

Succulent Centerpieces

for the Holidays

 

 

 

Join us at The Ruth Bancroft Garden or some holiday cheer! We are excited to welcome back Charlotte Bloom for this fun and inspiring class. This demonstration-based course will show you how to incorporate succulents and garden cuttings into centerpieces which can be enjoyed for the duration of the winter season. Learn important design concepts and what materials to use for a long-lasting arrangement. A selection of materials from the garden will be used in the demonstrations and will also be available for purchase after class so make sure to allow time to shop our marketplace!

pumpkin arrangement

 

$25 General Admission, $20 Garden Members.

Space is limited, pre-registration is highly recommended. .

 

Centerpiece Arrangements: Class Demonstration 2012

 

 

 
 
 

Garden Wreaths

garden wreathMix up your traditional holiday décor with a wreath made from garden cuttings! By designing and creating your own wreath with materials found at The Ruth Bancroft Garden, you will learn how to incorporate interesting materials from your own yards into your next craft project.


Easy design techniques will ensure that every participant will go home with a wreath they are proud of, no matter what prior experience he or she may have. Basic wreath materials are provided with registration.


$20 General Admission, $15 Garden Members. Space is limited, pre-registration is recommended.

 

 

 
 
 
RBG Trees Lecture
Saturday, December 13, 2014
10:00am – 12:00pm
(Included in Docent training fee; Docents begin at 9am)

Almost every tree here in the garden was planted by Ruth Bancroft in 1972 or later. These beautiful trees provide visual interest from their colorful and shapely leaves, stunning flowers, and textured trunks. In this class, you’ll discover some of the unique and show-stopping trees in the garden. Ample resources will be provided for tree identification in the garden, and we will highlight several of the most asked about specimens.

The lecture is open to the public but is also a part of the Docent Training course at the garden. Join RBG staff for this in-depth plant identification class in the garden.

$20 General Admission, $15 Garden Members. Space is very limited, pre-registration is highly recommended. Members, please call office to register at member price.


 
 
 

Plant Family Crassulaceae
Saturday, January 10, 2015
10:00am – 12:00pm

(Included in Docent training fee; Docents begin at 9am)
From common hens and chicks to frilly-leaf hybrids, the genus Echeveria is one of the most popular of the family Crassulaceae. Additionally, the Crassula Family is home to many leafy and easy-to-propagate plants. Discover the diversity and variety of this fun plant family and learn to identify the characteristics that distinguish one from another.
The lecture is open to the public but is also a part of the Docent Training course at the garden. Join RBG staff for this in-depth plant identification class in the garden. $20 General Admission, $15 Garden Members. Space is very limited, pre-registration is highly recommended. Members, please call office to register at member price.


 
 
 
Plant Familiy Nolinaceae and Other Garden Favorites Lecture
Saturday, January 24, 2015
10:00am – 12:00pm
(Included in Docent training fee; Docents begin at 9am)

In addition to plants in the family Nolinaceae, such as the Ponytail Palm, this lecture will cover plants that fall out of the normal range of plant families in the garden, including Australian Grass Trees, Purple Wandering Jew, and Ocotillo. Join us to learn about these unique and interesting “miscellaneous” plants in the garden.

The lecture is open to the public but is also a part of the Docent Training course at the garden. Join RBG staff for this in-depth plant identification class in the garden.

$20 General Admission, $15 Garden Members. Space is very limited, pre-registration is highly recommended. Members, please call office to register at member price.


 
 
 
Plant Families Bromeliaceae & Aizoaceae
Saturday, February 7, 2015
10:00am – 12:00pm
(Included in Docent training fee; Docents begin at 9am)

The Bromeliad Family (Bromeliaceae) includes pineapples and many ornamental plants. Most have a rosette form, and they come in an amazing array of leaf colors, from silver to purple to green, often with sharp teeth along the leaf edges. Their wonderful flowers are an added attraction. The Ice Plant Family (Aizoaceae) is amazingly diverse, with more different species than any other family of succulents except the Cactus family. Some are groundcovers with dazzling flowers, while others are highly specialized miniatures with great appeal to collectors. Examples include living stones, tiger jaws, split rocks, and baby toes.

The lecture is open to the public but is also a part of the Docent Training course at the garden. Join RBG staff for this in-depth plant identification class in the garden.

$20 General Admission, $15 Garden Members. Space is very limited, pre-registration is highly recommended. Members, please call office to register at member price.


 
 
 
History of the Garden and Human Uses of Plants Lecture
Saturday, February 21, 2015
10:00am – 12:00pm
(Included in Docent training fee; Docents begin at 9am)

Learn how this drought-tolerant garden came to be in the middle of Walnut Creek. From pear and walnut orchards to suburbia, discover the changes that made this area what it is today. In addition to the history of this property, this class will cover the historical uses of many of our plants – those used for medicinal purposes, food sources, building materials, or other hobbies. Our docent trainees will each present on an assigned plant as a part of their training course.

The lecture is open to the public but is also a part of the Docent Training course at the garden.

$20 General Admission, $15 Garden Members. Space is very limited, pre-registration is highly recommended. Members, please call office to register at member price.

 

 
 
 
California Native Plants, Australian Plants, Proteaceae and other Shrubs Lecture
Saturday, March 7, 2015
10:00am – 12:00pm
(Included in Docent training fee; Docents begin at 9am)

California native plants make sense in drought-tolerant gardens, as do Australian plants. These plants grow in conditions that match your California climate and can thrive with very little babying after they become established. Come out to The Ruth Bancroft Garden and learn to identify these varied drought-tolerant plants which grace the garden’s pathways.

The lecture is open to the public but is also a part of the Docent Training course at the garden. Join RBG staff for this in-depth plant identification class in the garden.

$20 General Admission, $15 Garden Members. Space is very limited, pre-registration is highly recommended. Members, please call office to register at member price.


 
 
 
Plant Family Cactaceae and Euphorbiaceae
Saturday, March 21, 2015
10:00am – 12:00pm
(Included in Docent training fee; Docents begin at 9am)

Many plants in the garden are incorrectly referred to as “Cactus” because of common misconceptions about the plant family. Discover the diversity of the family Cactaceae along with Euphorbiaceae, plants that can look a lot like cactus but contain a milky sap inside and belong to an entirely different family.

The lecture is open to the public but is also a part of the Docent Training course at the garden. Join RBG staff for this in-depth plant identification class in the garden.

$20 General Admission, $15 Garden Members. Space is very limited, pre-registration is highly recommended. Members, please call office to register at member price.


 
 
Plant Familiy Nolinaceae and Other Garden Favorites Lecture
Saturday, January 24, 2015
10:00am – 12:00pm
(Included in Docent training fee; Docents begin at 9am)

In addition to plants in the family Nolinaceae, such as the Ponytail Palm, this lecture will cover plants that fall out of the normal range of plant families in the garden, including Australian Grass Trees, Purple Wandering Jew, and Ocotillo. Join us to learn about these unique and interesting “miscellaneous” plants in the garden.

The lecture is open to the public but is also a part of the Docent Training course at the garden. Join RBG staff for this in-depth plant identification class in the garden.

$20 General Admission, $15 Garden Members. Space is very limited, pre-registration is highly recommended. Members, please call office to register at member price.

 

 
 
Plant Families Bromeliaceae & Aizoaceae
Saturday, February 7, 2015
10:00am – 12:00pm
(Included in Docent training fee; Docents begin at 9am)

The Bromeliad Family (Bromeliaceae) includes pineapples and many ornamental plants. Most have a rosette form, and they come in an amazing array of leaf colors, from silver to purple to green, often with sharp teeth along the leaf edges. Their wonderful flowers are an added attraction. The Ice Plant Family (Aizoaceae) is amazingly diverse, with more different species than any other family of succulents except the Cactus family. Some are groundcovers with dazzling flowers, while others are highly specialized miniatures with great appeal to collectors. Examples include living stones, tiger jaws, split rocks, and baby toes.

The lecture is open to the public but is also a part of the Docent Training course at the garden. Join RBG staff for this in-depth plant identification class in the garden.

$20 General Admission, $15 Garden Members. Space is very limited, pre-registration is highly recommended. Members, please call office to register at member price.

 
History of the Garden and Human Uses of Plants Lecture
Saturday, February 21, 2015
10:00am – 12:00pm
(Included in Docent training fee; Docents begin at 9am)

Learn how this drought-tolerant garden came to be in the middle of Walnut Creek. From pear and walnut orchards to suburbia, discover the changes that made this area what it is today. In addition to the history of this property, this class will cover the historical uses of many of our plants – those used for medicinal purposes, food sources, building materials, or other hobbies. Our docent trainees will each present on an assigned plant as a part of their training course.

The lecture is open to the public but is also a part of the Docent Training course at the garden.

$20 General Admission, $15 Garden Members. Space is very limited, pre-registration is highly recommended. Members, please call office to register at member price.

 

 
 
 

lawn removal

Lawn to Garden
Saturday, March 14
10am to 2pm

Walnut Creek

Sold out

*Please Note: Exact location of workshop will be provided after registration via email.

Are you ready to get rid of your boring lawn and plant a garden you can spend time in and enjoy?

Join us for a hands-on experience where you will not only learn how to complete the task, but also actually get a chance to do it!  At this workshop, we will physically transform a portion of a typical suburban front lawn to an amazing garden.  You'll learn about the methods to remove that lawn, get the chance to use helpful tools, participate in the transformation of the sprinkler system, and help plant the garden.garden

Dress to work in the garden, bring a lunch, and a water bottle!.

$20 General Admission, $15 Members Price - Pre-registration is required for this workshop.

Members, please call office to register at member price.

Thanks for your interest.  This class has sold out! Stay tuned for more cool classes this year.

 
 
California Native Plants, Australian Plants, Proteaceae and other Shrubs Lecture
Saturday, March 7, 2015
10:00am – 12:00pm
(Included in Docent training fee; Docents begin at 9am)

California native plants make sense in drought-tolerant gardens, as do Australian plants. These plants grow in conditions that match your California climate and can thrive with very little babying after they become established. Come out to The Ruth Bancroft Garden and learn to identify these varied drought-tolerant plants which grace the garden’s pathways.

The lecture is open to the public but is also a part of the Docent Training course at the garden. Join RBG staff for this in-depth plant identification class in the garden.

$20 General Admission, $15 Garden Members. Space is very limited, pre-registration is highly recommended. Members, please call office to register at member price.

Sold Out

 
 
 
Plant Family Cactaceae and Euphorbiaceae
Saturday, March 21, 2015
10:00am – 12:00pm
(Included in Docent training fee; Docents begin at 9am)

Many plants in the garden are incorrectly referred to as “Cactus” because of common misconceptions about the plant family. Discover the diversity of the family Cactaceae along with Euphorbiaceae, plants that can look a lot like cactus but contain a milky sap inside and belong to an entirely different family.

The lecture is open to the public but is also a part of the Docent Training course at the garden. Join RBG staff for this in-depth plant identification class in the garden.

$20 General Admission, $15 Garden Members. Space is very limited, pre-registration is highly recommended. Members, please call office to register at member price.

Sold Out

 
 

Beginner's Garden Photography
Saturday, April 4, 2015
8 to 10 am

Join us for an introductory class on garden photography. Not only will you gain early access to the garden for the best lighting but you will have a lesson on exposure, depth of field, focus, and other techniques. Participants will take photos under the close guidance of two instructors, as the class size will be limited to ten participants. Recently offered as a short course for members, we are re-offering this class as a longer course and opening it to the general public.

prickly pear

Bring your camera and a tripod (if you have one).

$20 General Admission, $15 Garden Members. Space is very limited, pre-registration is required. Members, please call the office to register at the member price.


About the instructors:

John Ricca is a San Francisco Bay Area fine art photographer, with an international reputation, who has photographed for more than fifty years. John explores non-representational images that emphasize shapes, textures, and patterns. He has exhibited in numerous exhibitions throughout the Bay Area and conducted photography workshops on how to improve photographic techniques. Learn more about him here. See his gallery of photographs from The Ruth Bancroft Garden here.

Richard Valenti is a professional fine art photographer specializing in unique, expressive landscapes. Richard’s fine art prints combine dramatic photography, vivid colors, and artistic touches to create new, captivating visions of the natural world. He has won numerous awards in national and international photo contests and his work has been published in magazines and shown in gallery exhibits. You can view his art here and here.

 
 

Agave havardianaEverything Agave: Successfully Growing Agaves at Home
Saturday, April 4
2 to 3:30 pm

Greg Starr comes to town to share his love for the agave plant, a fantastic, drought-resistant plant. Many people are intimidated by this plant, fearing its mature size and extreme flowering habits. However, with a variety of sizes, colors, and habits, Agaves can work great in gardens, large or small, and even in containers! 

At this event, learn how to successfully grow this plant at your home through a discussion on sun requirements, frost hardiness, and watering requirements.  Discover best practices for dealing with an agave after it flowers and see a potting demonstration during the class, which you can replicate on your own.  Participants will receive a list of must-have agave species for the garden and containers. Pretty much everything you ever wondered about agaves will be answered in this informative presentation by nursery owner, author, and xeriscape advocate, Greg Starr. Learn more about Greg here.

$20 General Admission, $15 Garden Members. Members, please call the office to register at the member price.

 
 

Propagation by leafSucculent Propagation

Saturday, April 18, 2015

10:30 am to 12:00 pm   or

2:00 to 3:30 pm

Propagation is one of the first techniques to learn as you explore your love for succulent water-conserving plants. Whether you want to use your plants in crafts and décor or have an abundant collection in your garden, we will teach you the most successful and easiest methods of increasing your collection.

Growing succulents from seed, while possible, is not the most common practice for the most popular varieties. Succulents are easy to propagate through different techniques including division and by taking cuttings. These activities produce quick results and utilize the natural tendency of the plant in a very effective way. Learn which types of plants thrive with which practices, see demonstrations of some of the more unique activities and participate in some hands-on practice of the common routines that you will use frequently in your garden.

$20 General Admission, $15 Garden Members. Members, please call the office to register at the member price.

 

Succulent Success for Beginners

Saturday, May 16, 2015

10:30 am to 12:00 pm

SOLD OUT

This beginner's class is designed for those new to the succulent world. We'll discuss the basic principles for care of succulents both in the ground and in containers. Learn to keep your plants happy from roots to leaves!  Brian Kemble, Curator of The Ruth Bancroft Garden, will teach this workshop.  You will leave the class armed with strategies for a successful succulent collection to enjoy for years to come.

$20 General Admission, $15 Garden Members. This class is sold out.  Please join us at another workshop.

 

 
 

How do you register for an event?

Online - via the individual event link, if present. Available for general admission only. Ticketing fees may apply. If no event link is available, please call or mail your registration.

Phone - call the office at (925) 944-9352

Mail - send the registration form with check or credit card information to 1552 Bancroft Rd., Walnut Creek, CA 94598

 
 

Members Only Courses

Workshops

Registration

 
Mission Statement
The mission of the Ruth Bancroft Garden, Inc. is to preserve this exceptional example of garden design and to continue to develop its collection of water-conserving plants for the education and enjoyment of the public.
 
Grant Funders

The Ruth Bancroft Garden would like to recognize the following grant funders:

The Quest Foundation for funding our Education Coordinator’s positionThe Mervyn L. Brenner Foundation and The Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust for funding our directional signsThe California Horticultural Society for funding towards our restoration projects

The Bonita Garden Clubfor funding restoration and education projects

 

 
 
 
The Ruth Bancroft Garden GardenConservancy