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.

Become a Docent!

Do you have a passion for plants that you’d like to share with others? Would you like to deepen your knowledge of dry-adapted plants, water-wise gardening, and the innovating and inspiring example of Ruth Bancroft? If so, you should become a Docent!


Docents are key members of our team here at the Ruth Bancroft Garden—leading tours for adults and children, serving as Garden Hosts, introducing and orienting new visitors to the Garden.


Docent training consists of 10 Saturdays of instruction from late November through March. Course material includes in-depth instruction and plant identification of the plant families represented in our collection, history of the Garden and interpretation of relevant plant science topics.


Contact our Docent Coordinator if you are interested or if you have any questions! Get the Docent Information and Application here.

November 19, 2016: Introduction to the Garden and Docent Training Program

December 3, 2016:  Asphodelaceae Lecture

December 17, 2016: Agavaceae Lecture

January 7, 2017: Ruth Bancroft Garden Trees and Shrubs

January 21, 2017: Plant Family Crassulaceae and Introduction to Cycads

February 4, 2017: Plant Familiy Nolinaceae and Other Garden Favorites Lecture

February 18, 2017: Plant Families Bromeliaceae & Aizoaceae Lecture

March 4, 2017: California Native Plants, Australian Plants, and Proteaceae Lecture

March 18, 2017: Plant Family Cactaceae and Euphorbiaceae Lecture

April 1, 2017: Graduation Tours *10am start

For those in the Docent training program classes run 9am - 12pm on above dates.

For those attending the lectures not as part of Docent training, lectures are 10am - 12pm on December 2016 - March 2017 dates.

Docent Training Program fees: $150 General Admission, $100 Ruth Bancroft Garden Member.

Individual classes are $15 for members, $20 for General Admission.

Please call the office to register at (925) 944-9352.

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Docents Leading Tours in the Garden
Members-Only Education

Members Only Courses

Short lectures for RBG Members

Join fellow Ruth Bancroft Garden Members for short lectures led by RBG staff members. Be inspired and motivated by our short lessons and get your questions answered!

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


Watercolor in Ruth's Iris Garden

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

10:00am - 1:00pm

$25 for members of The Ruth Bancroft Garden

Enjoy the gorgeous display of iris through the eyes of the artist as we capture the fleeting beauty of Ruth's private collection.

Prerequisite: 'Spring Watercolors in the Garden' series.  Bring your own materials for this Members-Only class.


Cactus Nursery Tour

Friday, April 21, 2017

10:00am departure from the Garden should be back by 12 - 12:30pm.


One of the top sellers at the SF Succulent & Cactus Society Annual Sale will be giving RBG members a garden and nursery tour. This unique backyard nursery is open by appointment only and specializes in cacti with an emphasis on Mamillaria, Ariocarpus, Rebutias and Sulcorebutias. Amazing specimen plants from their personal collection will also be on display. Plants will be available for purchase at the end of the tour. We will carpool from the Ruth Bancroft Garden as there is limited parking available for this offsite field trip.


California Native Highlights

Friday, April 28, 2017

10:30 - 11:30am

Free for members of The Ruth Bancroft Garden

Class Full

Please e-mail to be placed on the waitlist.

Did you know that the Garden has a growing collection of CA native plants? Ryan Penn, horticulturist, will take you on a colorful spring walk through the garden and learn about how you can incorporate natives into your landscape.


Collecting & Cleaning CA native seeds

Friday, May 19, 2017

10:30 - 11:00am

Free for members of The Ruth Bancroft Garden

Do you have a passion for California native wildflowers? This time of year, blooms are starting to wind down and it's the perfect time to collect seeds for next year. Learn about optimal seed collecting and storage techniques from Ruth Bancroft Garden Horticulturist, Ryan Penn.

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 Program Coordinator. 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.

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!


Docent Training

Members-Only Education

Children's Tours

College Internships

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