Support the Garden You Love

It is through the support of Members, Donors and Visitors like you that we are able to preserve Ruth’s Garden, educate our community on her legacy of climate-resiliency and perseverance, and provide the public with tools, resources, and plants to create their own waterwise home gardens.

Please consider continuing to support the Garden through memberships, online education, events, Nursery purchases, and more! Every little bit helps, and your purchases, donations, and visits help us continue to follow Ruth’s lead and share her passion with the world!

Spring Appeal

Donate to the Golden Barrel Fund

Spring is a time of renewal and rejoicing, and here at the Ruth Bancroft Garden we are celebrating the gifts that the Garden gives us, all through the year. We are endlessly inspired by the Garden’s beauty and drama, the ever-changing vistas and blooms, the colors, shapes, and scents that invigorate all our senses.  The Garden offers so many ways to be absorbed by the natural environment, alone or with friends and family; it is truly a refuge and an oasis.

Donate Today

To keep it that way requires care, and the Ruth Bancroft Garden is sustained by the contributions of its members, visitors, and friends in the community. We count on you to help us keep the Garden growing, and welcoming, for years to come.

If you are not yet a member of the Garden, please join today and enjoy all the benefits of membership.

Become a Member


If you are already a member – thank you for your support. Please consider making an additional contribution today, in any amount, to help us care for Ruth’s creation and continue to offer this rare oasis to the community.

Bed 5 Renovations

Your donation to the Spring Appeal can help our Garden team fund the renovation to Bed 5! When facing the Garden entrance, Bed 5 is to your right.

Supporting the planting of Bed 5 just outside the Ruth Bancroft Garden Gates is an opportunity to champion waterwise planting and extend the beauty and resilience of Ruth’s renowned dry garden beyond its confines. Your donation not only enhances the visual appeal of the Garden’s entrance but also serves a larger purpose. By showcasing the principles of waterwise planting, we’re not just beautifying a bed; we’re advocating for sustainable practices vital for our micro-climate and the future of our planet. Every contribution is a step towards building awareness and appreciation for the importance of thoughtful planting, aligning perfectly with our nonprofit mission to celebrate Ruth’s legacy and inspire others to care for our environment. Join us in transforming Bed 5 into a living testament to the power of water-wise gardening and the legacy of Ruth Bancroft.

The Golden Barrel Cactus has long been a symbol of the Garden, its strong, spiny presence a key part of Ruth’s original distinctive plant collection. The Golden Barrel Fund provides support for the care and operation of the Garden year-round.


The Ruth Bancroft Garden is a nonprofit organization. We receive no public funding. Every dollar we spend to care for the Garden must be raised each year, and we hope you will help us reach our goals for our spring campaign. All contributions to the Golden Barrel Cactus Fund are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.


Please make a gift to the Golden Barrel Fund today, and join us in supporting the Garden we love!


Donate Today

Ways to Support the Garden

Recurring Donations

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Matching Gifts

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Planned Giving

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Donor Advised Funds

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Donate Stock

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Donor Profile: Gail Brekke

Educator’s Donation Resumes School Field Trips

“Kids need to have opportunities like this,” said Gail Brekke about her motivation for funding field trips to the Ruth Bancroft Garden. As a longtime educator in the Mt. Diablo School District, where the Garden is located, she knew that enriching activities outside of school are important but not always equally available.

Gail was the principal at nearby Bancroft Elementary School for fourteen years and remembers the field trips in the early days that were sparked by Ruth’s daughter Kathy and her grandchildren, then kindergarteners at Bancroft Elementary. Kids from Bancroft Elementary would walk from school to the Garden and then up the Iris-lined driveway at the family residence and receive an exuberant welcome from Ruth.

With Gail’s generous support, third graders from Title I low-income schools in the Mt. Diablo school district are streaming into the Garden once again this spring and fall and free of charge, including bus transportation which is paid for by the donation.

Gail explains that for low-income schools in the area, the cost of bus expenses alone can prevent schoolchildren from participating in enriching outdoor experiences. She said every kid is “bananas” about field trips, and that in her day she would prep them in advance about exploring and learning in “a place where they grow things,” as the kids would refer to the Garden.

Under the leadership of Children’s Education Manager Marie Gelin, the third graders visiting today get a hands-on learning experience about biological adaptation and climate change. The field trip programs are aligned with California’s Next Generation Science Standards for Biological Evolution, Adaptation, and Ecosystem Diversity. The vast collection of climate-resilient plants makes the Garden a unique place for children to observe biological adaptations and various traits that allow these plants to thrive in arid habitats. Students engage in a plant detective scavenger hunt throughout the Garden and plant their own climate-resilient succulent to take home.

Gail Brekke began teaching in the Mt. Diablo School District at Cambridge Elementary in the Monument corridor area of Concord, a school that appealed to her because the principal was a woman. She also liked being in a school where Spanish speaking students were located because of her working fluency in the language. After two years there, she traveled to South America to teach in Columbia where to her dismay she had to instruct in English because most students were from temporary expat families living and working in the area.

Gail returned to teach at both Willow Creek and Sequoia elementary schools before arriving as principal at Bancroft Elementary in 1988 and leading the school for fourteen years. Bancroft Elementary is notable not just because of the naming and location adjacent to the Garden, but because it draws students from both Walnut Creek and Concord and features a successful Spanish Immersion instructional program.

Gail is revered by former staff and students of Bancroft Elementary and is certainly cherished by the Ruth Bancroft Garden team for bringing inquisitive schoolchildren back into the Garden.

Ways We Give Back to Our Community


  • Grow appreciation for and knowledge of aloes, agaves, echeverias, cacti and other climate-appropriate plants
  • Promote waterwise plants and home gardens through classes, workshops, and services
  • Cultivate an understanding of the importance of our dry garden, climate-resilient plant palette


  • Provide free or discounted entry to the Garden through various partnerships and offerings:
    • Discover and Go
    • Museums for All
    • Free Admission for Children 4 and under
    • Discounted Admission for Military, Students, Seniors and Children aged 5-17


  • Further Ruth’s legacy by:
    • Preserving her vision and ensuring her presence is felt throughout the Garden
    • Investing in the care of over 2,000 different plant species in the Garden
    • Cultivating, maintaining and growing the collection
  • Encourage planting drought-tolerant and climate-appropriate plants to:
    • Conserve water
    • Promote creation of habitats for local pollinators: butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, etc

Donor Tile Requests


After making a donation of $500 or more  you can submit a form to request your donor tile! Donor tiles are a wonderful way to honor a loved one. All donations contributed to our Golden Barrel fund are used for operational costs to keep the Garden going and growing.

Submit Request

The Ruth Bancroft Garden is a non-profit 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, EIN 68-0310041. Our organization will not trade, share or sell a donor’s personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations. Donations made to the Ruth Bancroft Garden are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.