Golden Jubilee Celebration

Come celebrate 50 years of the Ruth Bancroft Garden with us this year!


2022 marks 50 years since Ruth first began planting her magnificent dry garden. In 1972, after the last of the walnut orchard had gone, Philip Bancroft gave the land to Ruth to start planting her extensive succulent collection. Said collection began with Aeonium ‘Glenn Davidson,’ which she procured from a private sale in Berkeley, California. We recently re-introduced the descendants of this hybrid into the plant collection after a long absence. In the beginning, Ruth procured mainly succulents because she was fond of their structural rosette patterns. As she planted her Garden and it grew, people began donating plants to the cause. It was in this way that Ruth started introducing cacti into her Garden. She thought the tall, rugged forms were a nice foil to her more delicate succulents, so the cacti remained.


Ruth Bancroft was in her 60s when she began building an entire new world for herself. She dedicated herself to learning how to help her collection thrive and, through trial and error, she learned how to protect her succulents from the harsher weather and temperatures. Ruth studied architecture in college and was immediately enamored with the structural beauty of the various plants in her collection: agaves, aloes, echeverias and yuccas to name a few. After 16 years, her Garden garnered the attention of Frank and Ann Cabot who, in 1988, formed the Garden Conservancy. Its purpose was to preserve significant American gardens and the Ruth Bancroft Garden was the first project protected under this organization.


In honor of our 50th year of the joy, dedication and preservation that this beautiful Garden embodies, we have a new logo to commemorate the Aeonium ‘Glenn Davidson’ that sparked Ruth’s infatuation with succulents, dry gardening and furthered her dedication to conservation.


Throughout 2022, we will be honoring Ruth and her vision by celebrating the 50 years of hard work it took to create this water-wise wonderland we have today. We now have a selection of Aeoniums for sale in our retail Nursery, including the Aeonium ‘Glenn Davidson’. We are excited to share the origin of Ruth’s passion for succulents with our community.

Ruth’s Garden Through the Years…

When Ruth began planting her Garden in 1972, she started mainly with plants in 1 gallon pots – miniscule compared to their impressive stature now. She learned as she went and, through trial and error, came to realize what her plants needed from her.

“Of course, I think everyone has failures, some have more than others. But I think anyone who’s interested in gardening tries to figure out why, and just tries something else.”

“I just started it for the fun of it and the enjoyment of it. I had no idea that people would be looking at it, no idea at all. I’m sure a lot of people don’t care for it. But I’m surprised, really surprised, at the number of people who do like it. That surprises me more.”