Workshops & Programs

A special thank you to Contra Costa Water District for sponsoring these workshops! 

Registration instructions here.

Please do not record our educational programs without permission of the instructor.  If permission is received, those recordings may only be used for personal use and reference. 

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations up to 1-week prior to a class are subject to a 25% cancellation fee.  Cancellations less than 1-week prior to a class are non-refundable.  The Ruth Bancroft Garden does not issue credits for future classes.

Current Workshops

Intro to Birdwatching (2-part series)

Saturday, April 14, 2018

10-11:30am (at Lindsay Wildlife Experience)

& Saturday, April 21, 2018

7:30-10 am (onsite)

SOLD OUT Please email to be put on the wait list.

$30 Member Price (LWE and RBG members)

$35 General Public

Dive into the wonderful world of birding! In this workshop, you will be introduced to the considerable variety of bird species found in Contra Costa, and neighboring counties. You will be taught how to find, “see”, and develop skills that will open you to the pleasures of identifying them.

We will begin with birding fundamentals and also cover how to properly enter, move through, and survey habitat for birds. The workshop will consist of class time with two presentations, followed by some introductory “outdoor time”, both at Lindsay Wildlife Experience on April 14th and at the Ruth Bancroft Garden on April 21st. This series will leave you with new skills and a lifelong appreciation of birding.

Top bird photo is of a Bullock's oriole which migrates south into Mexico and Central America, then returns to us in spring.

Bottom bird photo is of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet which arrives in fall and remains until early April. Pictures by Larry and Dena Hollowood.


Garden Mandala

Saturday, April 21, 2018


$20 Member Price

$25 General Admission

Join Vinaya Gokarn and celebrate the ephemeral art of mandala-making for conscious living. The art of mandala practice creates a relationship between nature, our mind, body, heart, and soul. This mandala walk and ceremony offers a meditative walk through the serene and beautiful landscape of the garden as we forage for natural gifts such as leaves, twigs, berries, pebbles and flowers to create our very own transient earth art of mandala from the gifts gathered on the walk. You will take home a specially-designed tote bag at the end of the session.


Evening Garden Photography

Saturday, April 21, 2018


SOLD OUT. Please contact to be put on the wait-list.


Take advantage of the golden lighting in the Garden for this special evening photography workshop. Led by John Ricca and Richard Valenti, this will be an amazing opportunity to learn how to utilize depth of field, focus, and exposure to capture the perfect shot. (Check out and for more details about the instructors.) Bring your camera, tripod (if you have one) and camera manual.


DIY Creative Succulent Series: Serene Succulents

Saturday, April 28, 2018


$35 Member Price

$40 General Admission

Bring a sense of relaxation and repose to your home or garden. Create a serene succulent arrangement with small driftwood pieces, rocks, and a ceramic pagoda. Materials will be provided, but if you have a small item that brings you peace, we encourage you to bring it. Led by Concepcion Hennessey of The Happy Succulent, you will learn the essentials of succulent arrangement as well as maintenance and care so you can enjoy ongoing tranquility with your design.


CA Native Blooms (Members Only)

Friday, May 11, 2018


Free for members, but please contact to RSVP

Enjoy a late spring walk in the garden with Ed Ellebracht, RBG docent, who will guide you through the native collection. Learn about how you can incorporate water wise natives into your landscape and maintain a pollinator haven.


Demo: How to drill a drainage hole in a ceramic pot

Thursday, May 10, 2018

11-11:30 am

Free, but please RSVP to

Drainage is critical to plant health, especially succulents and cacti that are planted in containers. There are many decorative pots on the market now with no drainage holes, so what should you do?  Join Linnea Lion for a short demonstration on how you can successfully convert a ceramic pot into a proper container for your water wise plants. Free, but please RSVP to



DIY Mother's Day Teapots

Saturday, May 12, 2018


$45 Member Price



$50 General Admission



Take your mother out to tea- Ruth Bancroft style! We’ve replaced scones with succulents for this fun DIY planting workshop. Enjoy the day with your mom or leave with a gift to give her this Mother’s Day.  Linnea Lion, RBG instructor and designer will guide you in choosing, planting and maintaining succulents in a container. This fun workshop is the perfect way to tap into your creative side while celebrating mom’s and all of the special women in our lives.


Author Talk: Designing with Palms by Jason Dewees

Saturday, May 12


$10 Member Price


$15 General Admission

The Ruth Bancroft Garden contains a significant collection of palms, most of them hardy and drought-tolerant species rarely seen in Bay Area landscapes. They play key roles in the composition and design of the garden.
Jason Dewees, author of Designing with Palms (Timber Press, 2018, with photos by Caitlin Atkinson), will lead a discussion and garden tour addressing the design impact of these charismatic, iconic plants at The Ruth Bancroft Garden and in California gardens more widely. He will also talk about this fascinating plant family, leaving participants with greater knowledge and appreciation of the world's third-most economically important plant family. Books will be available for purchase and Jason will do a signing after the walk.

Photo by: Caitlin Atkinson


Succulent Propagation

Friday, May 25


$20 Member Price


$25 General Admission

Would you like to expand your succulent collection with what you already have? Join us for a workshop with Walker Young, Assistant Curator, and learn how to properly take cuttings and propagate with leaves. This class is perfect for the beginner enthusiast and we'll help you conquer your fear of beheading that Echeveria and which succulents you can easily propagate in a home setting.


DIY Father's Day Toolbox Garden

Saturday, June 9


$45 Member Price

$50 General Admission

Celebrate Father's Day weekend with a DIY workshop to create a garden in a toolbox for his workspace. Linnea Lion, RBG instructor, will guide you in creating your own tool box garden filled with succulents and cacti. Take advantage of this workshop to spend time with your father or make one as a gift. You can bring your own garden tools to add as decoration. Space is limited, so sign up today!


Photography: Capturing Art During the Magical Hour

(2-part series)

Wednesday, June 20 & 27

6-8 pm

$45 Member Price


$50 General Admission

Join Ashlee Urmson, owner of Zella Urmson Photography, for two summer evening photography sessions. Explore your creativity while getting lost within the natural textures and sculptures the Ruth Bancroft Garden has to offer during the annual Sculpture in the Garden exhibit. Bring your own camera, lens, questions and creativity to expand your knowledge of utilizing the natural summer light while capturing your favorite details within the garden. Learn how to turn your favorite images into works of art.

The first session will focus on the "magical hour’s” natural light while using techniques such as softening the landscape to highlight details hidden within the garden. Learn how to calibrate shutter speed, ISO and aperture to get the photo you want. Once home, select your two favorite images to send to the instructor to be printed and displayed at the second class.

The second session will focus on acquired skills to create self portraits in harmony with the environment. Discussions will lead to ideas for sharing and displaying photos across a range of contexts, all while enjoying wine, cheese and the merry company of others.


Summer Aloe Blooms Tour

Saturday, June 30


$30 Member Price


$35 General Admission

Explore the beautiful summer aloe blooms with Garden Curator, Brian Kemble. Discover varioius hybrids and majestic aloes that love to show off their gorgeous flowers during the warmer months. As a bonus, you get to take home a seed-grown aloe from the curator's collection.


Botanical Impressions

Saturday, June 30

10-11:30 am

$50 Member Price

$60 General Admission

Please email

or call (925) 944-9352 to sign-up

Create your own plaster casting of amazing botanicals through this fun, easy and rewarding process. Wet clay is used to impress flowers, stems and/or leaves, then the physical plants are removed and plaster is poured into the  8”x10” mold. A hanger is placed on the back.  Once it sets in a half hour, the clay is taken away and  what is revealed is a stunning piece of original artwork designed by YOU! It can be left in its original form or later painted or stained when it has cured, and those processes will be discussed by Sue Fordyce-Darden, an instructor from Alden Lane Nursery. All materials and instruction (both verbal and written) are included for the casts. Come and create a masterpiece!




How do you register for an event?

At the garden- Stop by the admission kiosk.

Online - Via the individual Paypal link, if present. Ticketing fees may apply.

Phone - (925) 944-9352




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 positionThe Mervyn L. Brenner Foundation and The Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust for funding our directional signsThe California Horticultural Society for funding towards our restoration projects

The Bonita Garden Clubfor funding restoration and education projects


The Ruth Bancroft Garden GardenConservancy