Education & Programs
Adult Education Programs

The Garden offers an array of workshops, tours and seminars for the professional and the home gardener. These programs range from special tours of the Garden to all-day Dry Garden Design Seminars. Find these programs on our Events Page.

Register for an event with whichever method is easiest for you.

Members-Only Education

Members Only Courses

Short lectures for RBG Members

Join your fellow Ruth Bancroft Garden Members for short 30 minute lectures led by RBG staff members. Be inspired and motivated by our short lessons and get your questions answered during the Q&A sessions following the talk.

Lectures will be held outdoors and are free of charge unless otherwise noted. Please register in advance to hold your spot by calling (925) 944-9352 or emailing the education director.


Local Garden Tours - Members Only!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Drop in between 9 am - 12 pm

Free for Members of The Ruth Bancroft Garden

Gardens are located in Oakland

Member's can visit three fantastic drought-tolerant gardens in Oakland, owned and maintained by Garden staff members and volunteers. Experts will be on site while you wonder around these beautiful gardens so feel free to ask questions about plant choices, design techniques, or anything else! You will need to provide your own transportation to the various gardens. Explore each garden at your own pace within the hours of 9 am to 12 pm. Garden addresses will be provided via email after registration.


Soil Basics - Members Only!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

10:30 -11:00 am

Free for Members of The Ruth Bancroft Garden

Soil is the foundation of healthy plants. In this short course, members will learn about the content of soil, our recommendations for the perfect ratio of materials, and the care that your soil needs in order to keep your plants healthy and happy.

Children's Tours

The Garden offers a two-hour field trip program that meets the California curriculum standards for the third grade but can be adapted for students of all ages. Students are divided into small groups and rotate through a series of tours that introduce them to local history, pollination, propagation, and water storage in plants. Other highlights include native uses of plants, water conservation strategies, and plant identification.  Each student plants a succulent cutting to take home. Field trips are offered year-round. The cost is $5 per student.

Children's Tours Pictures
Classrooms of all ages are encouraged to schedule field trips to The Garden. We also offer tours for children's groups (i.e. Scout groups). Please call the office at (925)944-9352 to make arrangements for your group.
College Internship Program

Garden Intern'The Garden offers internships to college students in the areas of horticulture, garden maintenance, nursery management, scientific illustration, marketing, development and education. Interns will receive hands-on training and experience in the areas of choice. Interns are needed at all times of the year!

We will work with your college or university so you can earn credit for your internship. To find out which internships are currently available, please contact our Education Director. To apply for a specific position, please send your resume and cover letter OR our Internship Application.

With much appreciation, we recognize the Frances Whyte Horticultural Grants Program and the Bonita Garden Club for their support of our internship program. Their support has made it possible to offer real-world education to promising  young adults in the areas of horticulture and non-profit education and management.

In-Depth Training Program

Join the docent team at the Ruth Bancroft Garden. Our training program begins this November and will run through April. This is the most extensive training we offer at the garden and will cover each plant family represented in the garden’s collection. This program is ideal for those who are looking to expand their ability to identify plants in the garden and who are interested in learning more about the garden. The best way to ensure that you learn a lot and remember the information, is to share it with others! You will also learn tips and tricks to become a successful tour guide in the garden.

The training will have 10 classes which take place approximately twice a month. Each session will cover one or two different categories of plants.

Requirements to become a Docent:
• Complete the winter Docent Training program
• Complete two presentations during training: mini plant presentation mid-way through the training and a longer tour-style presentation at Graduation.
• Lead approximately one tour a month after graduation

• Receive extensive training on the plant families represented in the Garden
• Participate in training on public speaking, engaging an audience, and being an ambassador to the public on behalf of the Garden before plant lectures begin
• Monthly docent-only enrichment sessions after training to continue learning
• RBG Volunteer status including 10% volunteer discount (combined with member discount for a total of 20% off)

Sharing what you know about the plants and what you love about the garden is a very rewarding experience. Join our team today!

All classes run from 9am-12pm unless otherwise noted. The first hour of most classes will be dedicated to docent trainess, plant lectures will be open to the public.

Nov. 1, 2014: Introduction Class *10am start

November 15, 2014:  Agavaceae and Asphodelaceae Lecture

December 13, 2014: RBG Trees Lecture

January 10, 2015: Plant Family Crassulaceae Lecture

January 24, 2015: Plant Familiy Nolinaceae and Other Garden Favorites Lecture

February 7, 2015: Plant Families Bromeliaceae & Aizoaceae Lecture

February 21, 2015: History of the Garden and Human Uses of Plants Lecture

March 7, 2015: California Native Plants, Australian Plants, Proteaceae and other Shrubs Lecture

March 21, 2015: Plant Family Cactaceae and Euphorbiaceae Lecture

April 4, 2014: Graduation Tours *10am start

Docent Training Program fees: $100 General Admission, $65 Member. Please call the office to register at (925)944-9352.

Not interested in becoming a docent, sign up for the classes on an individual basis. Click each class link for more information.

docenttour1 docenttour2
Docents Leading Tours in the Garden
Need a Garden Speaker?

As an internationally renowned garden with a unique plant collection and interesting history, you may consider one of our dynamic speakers for your upcoming event. Whether you are looking for an in-depth study on Aloes, or a general presentation on The Ruth Bancroft Garden and its community offerings, we have someone who can tailor a presentation to fit your event needs.

Please contact us with questions or to schedule an event.

Water Conservation Tips
Learn more here!


Members-Only Education

Children's Tours

College Internships

Docent Training

Garden Speakers

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 Club for funding restoration and education projects.

The Ruth Bancroft Garden GardenConservancy