Support The Garden
Donate to the Golden Barrel Fund!

GOlden Barrel Fund LogoThe Golden Barrel Fund is the annual fund for the Garden, which helps pay for annual operating costs. An annual fund is necessary because maintaining and enhancing a horticultural treasure like The Ruth Bancroft Garden requires funding beyond what we currently raise through plant sales, admissions, and special events.

Make a donation now!

We are grateful to the volunteers, members, friends and local institutions who provide generous financial support throughout the year to help RBG continue to flourish. See our Honor Roll of Donors here.


Our fundraising goal for the 2013-2014 Golden Barrel appeal is $120,000. The Ruth Bancroft Garden Board of Directors has generously offered to match the first $50,000 of donations in 2014 - donate now and double your impact!

Track our progress on the agave-ometer below

Total raised as of 9/24/14: $49,575

Garden Gifts

The Ruth Bancroft Garden carries a number of unique items Come by the office to take a look; here’s a sample of merchandise we have available.

all prices are pre-tax

Dish Gardens

Dish Gardens are lovingly made by our Nursery volunteers with plants grown in the Garden. They are available in a range of sizes, from little ones that fit in the palm of your hand to large displays, perfect for those who have potted plants instead of a yard. You can also bring your own pot and have a custom dish garden created with your choice of plants! Click here for more information.

$15 - $100

Ruth BancroftBuy a Ruth Bancroft Garden membership for a friend! Give the gift of free admission (and plant coupons!) and share your love of the Garden. Membership benefits and purchasing information can be found here, and you can buy a discounted membership on Amazon Local.

starting at $35

Love the way the Garden looks but can't seem to capture it with your camera? Pick up a flash drive pre-loaded with over 50 gorgeous photos of the garden, taken by RBG staff and volunteers. These flash drives are ready to be plugged into a digital photo frame, so you can be awestruck by the beauty of the garden year-round.

$24 each

Gift CertificateDon't forget Gift Certificates, which can be purchased in any amount, never expire, and can be used for anything sold at the Garden: admission, membership, event tickets, plants, merchandise, and donations!

The Ruth Bancroft Garden carries art and sculptures year-round - not just during our annual sculpture show! The selection rotates, but we always feature great pieces from local artists.


Phil Lange's Swimming Fish sway and twist in the breeze and make a wonderful addition to any garden, big or small. Come by the Garden to check them out!

$250 - $400


Joe Bologna's Dog Sculptures are feisty and whimsical. Their simple, graphic design looks great in a succulent garden or any garden.

$200 each


Renata Allen's Whimsical Sheep capture the hearts of everyone who sees them. Each colorful lamb has a unique expression that will make you smile. These little guys are popular, so pick one up before they're gone!

$45 and $80 each

Mudgett David Mudgett is known for his expertly welded, industrial yet organic sculptures of steel and stone. We have several of his pieces, including a tall, legged planter that will elevate your prized plant specimens and a selection of outdoor tables that will stand up to the time and weather. Stop by to see what catches your eye!

$500 - $3,400

John Ricca's stunning Garden photography is featured on greeting cards for sale in the office.  These cards are suitable for sending or framing. Larger images may be requested to frame.  Seasonally, we have personalized holiday greeting card sets available.  Check out the 2014 Holiday card selection here. Next year's collection will be avaliable in October 2015. 

$3.50 each

Planned Giving

A wonderful way to support The Ruth Bancroft Garden is to plan a gift in your estate or will. Estate gifts can be specified to go into our Endowment Fund, creating a lasting source of income to preserve The Garden. Click here for more information.


Become a member and help us preserve this national treasure as a unique asset to Walnut Creek and the greater Bay Area.

All membership levels include the following benefits

  • Free admission for cardholder(s) during regular hours (accompanying children and caregivers are free)
  • Reciprocal admissions to participating AHS gardens
  • Early admission to plant sales and first choice of plants
  • 10% off plants and most merchandise items (not valid at events)
  • 10% discount at select local nurseries (Annie's Annuals, The Dry Garden, and Navlet's)
  • Attendance at various Member's-only events and courses throughout the year

Download our membership application to mail in or buy your membership online by clicking on one of the "Donate Now" buttons below.

Introductory Membership (Six Months) - $20

  • One member card
  • Plant certificate for $10

Individual Membership - $35DonateNow

  • One member card
  • Two single-use guest passes ($20 value)
  • Plant certificate for $15

Family Membership - $60

  • Two member cards
  • Four single-use guest passes ($40 value)
  • Plant certificate for $25

Friends Membership - $100

  • Family Membership benefits, plus:
  • Plant certificate for $40DonateNow
  • Event certificate for $30

Aloe Garden Sponsor - $250

  • Family Membership benefits, plus:
  • Plant certificate for $75
  • Event certificate for $150


Agave Garden Sponsor - $500

  • Family Membership benefits, plus:
  • Plant certificate for $150
  • Event certificate for $300
  • Private tour of the Garden for four with RBG staff


Ruth's Manzanita Sponsor - $1,000

  • Family Membership benefits, plus:
  • Plant certificate for $150
  • Event certificate for $300
  • Two tickets to the Annual Dinner ($300 value)
  • Private tour of the Garden for four with curator Brian Kemble

Individual Lifetime Membership - $1,000

  • One member card with no expiration
  • Plant certificate for $15 every year
  • Two guest passes every year

Family Lifetime Membership - $1,800


  • Two member cards with no expiration
  • Plant certificate for $25 every year
  • Four guest passes every year
Garden Maintenance Donation Wish List
There is always a list of things we'd love to have, if only...

Our current Wish List includes some larger items that will really help us do "loads" of the heavier work we do here at the garden!  And save us a bundle in rental fees and personnel hours (not to mention how relieved our backs will be). 

      Pick-up truck - any size, must be in good condition, street legal, and able to pass the smog test

      Bobcat - or similar in good condition

      Mule Utility Vehicle - or similar in good condition

Before selling such items, please consider making a donation to the garden. 

Contact the Garden Manager with questions or to donate.

Without the enthusiasm and dedication of volunteers, The Ruth Bancroft Garden would not be here today.  Since this garden was planted in 1972, and all the way through it’s development from a private into a public garden, volunteers have been instrumental in maintaining the garden and supporting the organization behind it.

Volunteering at The Ruth Bancroft Garden is a wonderful way to enjoy this exceptional garden and contribute to its success. Download our Volunteer Application, fill it out, and email it to our volunteer coordinator, or mail it to the Garden. We accept applications year-round. Experience the satisfaction of contributing to The Ruth Bancroft Garden by donating your time, skills, and energy.

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Volunteers at the Annual Sculpture Show Register Work Party in the Nursery

The Ruth Bancroft Garden has a variety of interesting volunteer opportunities.

Garden work

(Thursdays 10am-4pm)

  • Construction (landscaping, irrigation)
  • Gardening (weeding, planting)
  • Adopt-a-bed (ongoing commitment)

Nursery work

(Thursdays and Saturdays, 10am-4pm)

  • Propagation
  • Repotting
Volunteer potting an Agave
Shade House during the Spring Plant Sale

Event Assistance
(usually evenings & weekends)

  • Organization & Planning
  • Marketing & Mailings
  • Cashier & Admission
  • Children’s Educational Events
  • Plant Sales
  • Membership Table
  • Traffic Control
  • Merchandise (organizing, selling)

Office Assistance
(half-day shifts Tue – Fri, 9am to 5pm)

  • Front desk (answer phones, greet visitors)
  • Computer work (graphic design, data entry)
  • Outreach (design, distribution, research)
  • Website maintenance


Don't have a lot of time to commit but want to help the Garden? Sign up as an ambassador (Thursday-Sunday, 2-hour morning and afternoon shifts). Welcome visitors to the Garden, help them get oriented, assist with plant sales, and explain the benefits of membership.


Become a Docent! Our annual training between November and March will prepare you to lead tours in the garden.

  • Children’s programs: assisting with special projects and classes.
  • Adult Education: assisting with hands-on workshops, lectures, special trips, etc.

Interested in sharing your love for plants with others? Become a Docent at the Ruth Bancroft Garden! Our Docent Training Program that takes place each year between October and March.

Docents Leading Tours in the Garden

The Docents at the Ruth Bancroft Garden play a vital role, interpreting the flora of the Garden for hundreds of visitors per year. Docent training provides you with knowledge about our collection of drought tolerant plants as well as the history of the Garden and its geographic location and trains you in interpretive skills and public speaking. As a trained Docent, you will be certified to lead tours through the Garden and share your knowledge with our visitors.

The benefits of becoming a Docent, besides the satisfaction of working in a beautiful place, and contributing to your community, include a free garden membership, and ongoing Docent Enrichment educational opportunities.

Thank you to our Sponsors
The Ruth Bancroft Garden extends our sincerest gratitude to the following 2014 sponsors:
1-800 Radiator Diablo Magazine
Bank of the West    
Renaissance Club Sport
Republic Services


Pyramid Brewery

Golden Barrel Fund

Garden Gifts

Planned Giving


Garden Maintenance Wish List



Honor Roll

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 for funding our directional signs

The California Horticultural Society for funding towards our restoration projects

The Bonita Garden Clubfor funding restoration and education projects


The Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust for funding our nursery renovation

The Ruth Bancroft Garden GardenConservancy