Visitor and Education Center Project
March 2018 Update

Final Challenge Grant & Construction Progress:

Excavators rumbling and bobcats booming- that’s the sound of progress on the Garden’s Visitor and Education Center! --. We have raised almost $400,000 towards the $1.15 million Matching Challenge Grant offered by the Coit and Simpson families to help complete the Visitor and Education Center project, bringing the total raised by March 1 to $3.8 million. The parking lot, admissions kiosk, and redesigned Nursery are expected to re-open in late May.

Thank you to our wonderful supporters for getting us to this point. Construction on the exterior building shell for the Visitor and Education Center will start this month. Construction is estimated to be completed by December of 2018 – but only if we can raise the remaining $750,000.

Click here to help us reach our goal.

If we can raise the remaining funds in pledges by August, we will be able to secure private bridge loans to complete the building this year and stay on budget.  Join the excitement by making a gift or multi-year pledge to ensure that construction stays on track and the Ruth Bancroft Garden continues to be a world-renowned attraction and example of how stunning a dry garden can be.

Every dollar counts toward reaching the finish line. The Garden is on the brink of a transformational change: from the realization of one woman’s dream to becoming a vital center of education in the community. The Center will teach future generations about Ruth’s groundbreaking work in developing drought tolerant landscaping - which is not only sustainable but spectacular in its interest, texture, color palette and beauty.

The building will feature rotating exhibits of our founder. A children’s area will be off the veranda, for parents and children to enjoy and learn. The Center will provide a place for educational symposia and build the Garden’s reputation in the scientific and landscaping community. A larger presence in the community will help spread the word about sustainable low-water landscaping – something that will make a huge difference in the changing environment. Community members will be able to rent the facility for private events, such as weddings and corporate retreats, which will bring additional revenue and visitors to the Garden.

The new parking lot and shaded plaza will provide a venue for a new re-envisioned nursery. It will be a destination retail spot featuring not only exceptional plants, but unusual outdoor décor. We are looking forward to a grand re-opening of the new nursery by mid-May! Stay tuned for event dates. 



Rendering of new Visitor and Education Center from the east side of parking lot. Phase I construction of the project—grading and construction of the entry plaza, the Nursery display and sales area, and the parking lot, is underway. Rendering by Robert Becker with IDF Global.

If you would like to contribute to the new Building, click the button below or email for more information.


Remember we need your donations to the Golden Barrel Annual fund as well as the Visitor and Education Center fund. Contact Gretchen Bartzen or Billie Hopper to find out about making your donation a 50/50 split to annual fund and Visitor Center or with any other questions.

Thank you to everyone who attended the Groundbreaking Celebration, and for all of your continued support!
Groundbreaking Celebration
pete bancroft
breaking ground
sharon simpson
golden shovel
Welcome Wall and Donor Recognition

The community built tile mosaic Welcome Wall, which will greet visitors at the new Entry Plaza, began this past August 20-21 at Civic Park in downtown Walnut Creek. Lead artists for the Garden—Donna Billick and her apprentice Amanda Larson—led a team of 17 clay artists associated with the Center for Community Arts in Walnut Creek on a 2-day workshop to create and paint the tiles for the west side of the Wall. Folks like the mom pictured at right and her very strong clay worker daughter, joined over 200 Garden members and general public to participate in this workshop last August. Donna Billick ( of Davis, CA) who has been creating large scale community art pieces for civic projects for 30 years, noted that the community turnout was so great that participants used over 700 pounds of clay in 2 days! Billick and Larson will complete the construction of the mosaic wall façades over the next several months.


Engraved Permanent Donor Tiles Available

The east side of the wall, which will face the Nursery and be visible as visitors approach the new Entry Plaza from the parking lot, will be made up of donor tiles that will be imprinted with the names of supporters who have donated $500 or more. Those tiles will soon be in production at Billick Rock Art. There are three sizes of tiles: one for donors of $500-$2,499, one for donors of $2,500-$9,999, and one for donors of $10,000 or more. Click here if you would like to donate and be a permanent part of the Garden’s Welcome Wall.

Access donor tile inscription form here.


Donor Wall and Thank You Gifts

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.
Event and Media Sponsors

The success of our events depends on our generous media and event sponsors. Thank you!

Diablo Magazine













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