Annual Member & Friends Dinner

Thank you to everyone who attended our Annual Dinner on November 9! There are still some spaces available in our sign-up parties. Read below for more information.


Week 1 - La Fiesta de España

Week 2 - Avatar Party

Week 3 - Tea Tasting and Tour of Ruth's Private Garden

Week 4 - Spring Wildflower Hike and Picnic on Mt. Diablo sold out!

Week 5 - Western Hills Garden Tour sold out!

Week 6 - Private Tour of the Gardens of Alcatraz sold out!


Spanish PartyEarly Bid Auction Item # 1

La Fiesta de España
Enjoy a Spanish-themed cocktail party in the Lafayette sculpture garden of Gail Giffen and Chris Pisarra, co-hosted by Becky and John Harrington. The event will take place in May, during the garden’s peak bloom season. You will be treated to authentic Spanish tapas, wines, sangria, and live flamenco music. Enjoy an evening stroll through the sculpture-filled garden under beautifully lit oak trees, with the sounds of flamenco guitar drifting through the garden.

The event will be held on Saturday, May 17, 2014.

Donated by: Gail Giffen, Chris Pisarra, Becky and John Harrington
$100 per person. An unlimited number of tickets is available.


Early Bid Auction Item # 2

Hansen Garden

Avatar Party

According to Hindu beliefs, an avatar is a manifestation of a deity in a bodily form. James Cameron took it a step further in his film “Avatar’ making it possible for 22nd century humans to create a hybrid using genetic mutation of human and Na’vi cells to create a being “operated” by their genetic human side. The ten foot Na’vi live on a forested moon orbiting the gas giant Polyphemus in the Alpha centauri star system.

AvatarThe plant life, especially the night plant life, is the inspiration for this garden party. Cameron was able to create much of his world on computer, but we are creating it with 21st century technology. Come join us in celebrating Avatar, and perhaps you will become an avatar for part of the evening and celebrate the mother goddess Eywa.

The event will be held on Sunday August 10, 2014, at 7pm at the Home of Kristin and Dick Hansen.

Donated by Kristin and Dick Hansen

$150 dollars per person. This event is only for 20 people.


Early Bid Auction Item # 3

RosesTea Tasting and Tour of Ruth's Private Garden

Don't miss this special opportunity to visit Ruth Bancroft's private garden, which is not otherwise open to the public or available for touring.

On Ruth's patio, sample a variety of teas, then have an individual pot of your favorite accompanied by both savory and sweet treats. Following the tea tasting, you will be taken on a private tour of Mrs. Bancroft's private garden, including historical buildings on the property dating back to the 1800s, the large rose garden, the alpine rock garden, and the beautiful iris walk.

The tea tasting and tour will be held on Saturday, April 26 at 2:00 pm

Donated by Nina Bancroft Dickerson


$100 per person. This special event is limited to 20 people, so sign up soon before it's filled.


Early Bid Auction Item #4

Spring Wildflower Hike and Picnic on Mt. Diablo

Doc HaleTake to the field for a look at the spring wildflowers on Mt. Diablo with highly respected local naturalist, Jim Hale, alias ‘Doc Hale.’ Jim has studied the flora and fauna, native history, and geology of the area for more than five decades. Along with the blossoms, you will visit Native American burial sites and see the locations of some ancient villages. ‘Doc’ will take you through some of the areas devastated by the Morgan Fire this past fall to see, first-hand, the effects it has had on the land. This is a rare opportunity to learn about and see Mt. Diablo from an entirely new perspective.

The hike will be about 5 miles long and take about 3 hours. Although there will be some altitude gain and loss, this is not a strenuous hike. Bring water and a picnic lunch to your energy levels up.

The hike will take place on Saturday April 19, 2014

Donated by Jim Hale

$50 per person

This item is sold out.


Early Bid Auction Item #5

Private Tour of Western Hills Garden, a Landmark in Sonoma, with Picnic Lunch, including Transportation

bridge at pondWestern Hills Garden, described recently by the San Francisco Chronicle as a “landmark garden,” is opening for tours again after extensive renovations. It began as the Western Hills Rare Plant Nursery, founded by Lester Hawkins and Marshall Olbrich in 1960, and was a destination for serious gardeners until it was closed in 2010. (Lester Hawkins is the person who helped Ruth Bancroft design her garden beds many years ago.) Chris Szybalski, a former RBG volunteer, and her husband Tim are the new owners of Western Hills Garden. They have spent the last three years working on a major restoration of the grounds and buildings. While still a “work in progress,” you can enjoy the garden that was described by the New York Times in 2005 as the “Tiffany’s of plants.” In addition, Western Hills Garden has been designated as a Preservation Assistance Garden by the Garden Conservancy.

Chris Szybalski will lead us on a private tour of this unique non-profit garden. The tour will conclude with lunch and includes a selection of local Sonoma wines

bridge at Western Hills GardenThe tour will be on Sunday April 6, 2014

Thank You Western Hills Garden, Gretchen Bartzen, Billie Hopper

$100 per person. Limit: 10 people.

This item is sold out


Early Bid Auction Item #6

gardens of AlcatrazPrivate Garden Tour and Picnic on Alcatraz Island

Board the boat with the rest of the Alcatraz crew and head for the island! The award-winning Gardens of Alcatraz illustrate the importance of gardens to the human spirit as well as the ecological benefits and aesthetic possibilities of sustainable gardening. Enjoy a peaceful 10-minute ferry ride to the island on a staff boat, separate from the tourist crowds. You and seven companions, accompanied by RBG Staff, will get an insider’s look and an in-depth tour from Project Manager Shelagh Fritz. You can opt to take the audio tour of the prison cells before enjoying a gourmet picnic lunch on the dock. May is the time to visit for peak blooms and excellent bird watching.

Thank You Shelagh Fritz and the Garden Conservancy

The tour is scheduled for Tuesday, May 13, 2014. In the event of rain on May 13, the tour will be on May 20. You will depart from Pier 33 at 8:45 am and return by 1:00 pm. Lunch will be provided.

gardens of Alcatraz$100 per person. Limit: 8 people

This item is sold out.

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Evening Program

Live Auction Items - Bid Early!

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 position

The Mervyn L. Brenner Foundation and The Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust for funding our directional signs

The California Horticultural Society for funding towards our restoration projects

The Bonita Garden Clubfor funding restoration and education projects

Dinner Sponsors


Reublic Services

Contra Costa times

Diablo magazine

Renaissance Club Sport

Dinner Donors and Volunteers

VIP Sponsors

Paul and Monica Bancroft

Jane Freeman

Greg and Bonnie Randall

Bud and Jane Rotermund

Dinner and Auction Donors

Ace Hardware, Ygnacio Valley Road

Martha Alexander, Esq. and Greg Alexander

Melissa Allen and Elisabeth Andreason

Carol Babst

Ruth Bancroft and Susie Newcomb

Gretchen Bartzen and Mike Rippey

Phoebe Berke

Berkeley Repertory Company

Blackhawk Country Club

Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast

John and Patty Brissendon, Sorensen’s Resort

Michael Casey and Fast Frame of Walnut Creek

Chris Codding and John Ricca

Lassie Colebourn

Ken and Donna Coit

Steve Cook

Nina Dickerson

East Bay Nature of Walnut Creek

The Gardens at Alcatraz and The Garden Conservancy

Delores and Bob Gebhardt

Gail Giffen and Chris Pisarra

Jan Gunn, Interior Architecture and Design

Jim “Doc” Hale

Dick Hansen and Kristin Yanker Hansen

Becky and John Harrington

Kathy Hidalgo

Brian Hirahara

Jeanne Hittell and Trader Vic’s

Laura Hogan

Billie Hopper and David Mitchell

Lu and Marilyn Hughes

Bob and Ruth Hussey, Mockingbird Cellars

Dick and Sally Ingraham, Mockingbird Cellars

Natalie Inouye and Gary Skrel

Brian Kemble

Ken Litchfield

Living Desert Museum

Carol and John Maerzke

Troy McGregor

Francis and Kathy Mahoney, and Mahoney Vineyards

Francois Miglio, Miglio Art

Moorten Botanical Garden

David Morris

Heather Murray, Mixing Bowl Creations

John Nassar

Noe’s Nest Bed and Breakfast

Patti Paulson and Pat Matthews

Peets Coffee and Karen Burcher

Geraldine and Lyles Pember

Rely and Marilyn Pio Roda

Bob Power and Regional Parking Center

Peter Raisbeck

Renaissance Club Sport  ~ Valley Vista

Bernie and Julie Rose

Rossmoor Golf Club

Bud and Jane Rotermund

Round Hill Country Club

Anthony Sandberg and the Olympic Sailing Club

Chris Szybalski and Western Hills Garden

Lucy Grace Valdezian

Ann Wiggins

Walker Young


Thank you to our wonderful Dinner Committee and Event Volunteers!

Co-Chairs Kristin Yanker Hansen and Greg Alexander

Gretchen Bartzen

Phoebe Berke

Janice Cattolica

Judith Coleman Cohen

Carolyn Cruz

Sophie Damerel

Adrian D’Sousa

Karen Ferriere

Ryan Gibney

Eileen Hansen

Billie Hopper

Brian Kemble

Penny Farfan

Diane Goldsmith

Dick Hansen

Sally Ingraham

Mimi Knox

John and Linda Komisar

Troy McGregor

Sheryl Morgan

Wendy and Rob Owen

Ryan and Shizuka Penn

Anne Revenko

Mike Rippey

Ruby Rippey

Ted Rippey

Jane and Bud Rotermund

Ann Wiggins

Mariam Worsham

Dawn Marie Yates

Walker Young

The Ruth Bancroft Garden GardenConservancy