In the Garden

What's in Bloom?

There's always something to see at The Ruth Bancroft Garden! Pick up a "What's in Bloom" guide when you check in for your tour. To see what's blooming this month click here to view pdf.

Check out our Flickr Photostream as well! With photos organized by the month they were taken in, you can see what the Garden looks like throughout the year.

January 2018 Plant Highlight: Cheiridopsis robusta

by Brian Kemble


The genus Cheiridopsis contains about 25 species from the winter-rainfall area along the west coast of South Africa and into southwestern Namibia. They are clump-forming leaf-succulents belonging to the Aizoaceae, or Ice Plant Family, with their leaves ranging from rounded to beak-like to finger-like. Their showy flowers come mainly in the winter months, with yellow being the most common color.

Cheiridopsis robusta has a more extensive distribution than other species in the genus, and is found both in Namaqualand (a dry region in northwestern South Africa) and across the border in the southwest corner of Namibia. Its gray-green beak-like leaves are borne in pairs, each one having a flat face and a back side which is hump-backed and keeled toward the tip. When the pair first emerges, the two faces are tightly pressed together, but over time they separate, and the next year’s pair pushes out from between them.

Like most species of Cheiridopsis, C. robusta is winter-flowering, and at the Ruth Bancroft Garden it usually begins in November or December, ending in late January to March. The showy flowers are held on short stalks, and have a diameter of 1⅔ to 2¼ inches (42-58 mm). Although yellow is the usual color for the species, there are populations with cream flowers as well, and occasionally the flowers may be coppery-tinged or purple-tinged. The flowers open in the middle of the day and close again at the end of the day.

In its native habitat, Cheiridopsis robusta gets 4 inches or less of annual rainfall. However, if given full sun and excellent drainage, it can be grown in our less arid conditions. It can endure winter cold down to at least 27°F (nearly -3°C), but should be protected in the event of extended spells below freezing.



Plant Donations to The Garden

Many people express interest in donating plants to the Ruth Bancroft Garden. These include plants that have grown too large for their space, may no longer be desirable for the owner, mature landscape plants that are being removed to make way for new plantings, or were owned by friends or loved ones. Plant donations to the garden are most appreciated but must be approved by staff prior to drop-offs. Many donations are repotted in our nursery and sold at our plant sales to raise money to support the garden, while a choice few plants will be accessioned into our collection, depending on the species and whether it is represented in our collection.

If you are interested in donating plants, we request that you email digital images of the plants along with any identifying information you may have to our Garden Curator, Brian Kemble.  He will be happy to determine which plants are appropriate for donation.

Garden Plant Information

The Ruth Bancroft Garden Tree Map

What's New in The Garden? Look here for interesting garden updates from the RBG gardeners' perspectives

Ruth's Tips
The Ruth Bancroft Garden Staff has been contributing "Ruth's Tips" articles to the Home & Garden section of Bay Area newspapers since 2005. We are currently in the process of scanning the printed articles to make them available online. Scanned articles are available here.
Plant Highlight Archives
View list in order of publication.
View list in alphabetical order.

To Plants in the Nursery

What's in Bloom?

Plant Highlight

Plant Donations

Garden Plant Information

Ruth's Tips Article

Plant Highlight Archives


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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 Clubfor funding restoration and education projects


The Ruth Bancroft Garden GardenConservancy