Seasonal observations of the Master Gardeners
- Author: Karen Metz
Published on: June 7, 2018
This Mother's Day, three generations of my family enjoyed the Ruth Bancroft Gardens in Walnut Creek. I had been to the gardens once before on a Master Gardener field trip. That visit, aside from a few barrel cactus, there had been little in bloom. I had still enjoyed the visit immensely as the succulents that this garden specializes in, have such interesting shapes and forms. They have also been gathered together with an artist's eye to best showcase their qualities.
This trip was a riot of bloom and color. Aloes, Leucospermum, Grevillea, Phlomis, Euphorbia and Agave were all flowering. Helpfully we had been given a "What's in Bloom" sheet along with our self guided tour book. We happily spent the afternoon exploring and taking pictures. Everyone was especially taken with Puya berteroniana a tall bromeliad native to Chile that forms five foot tall clumps. It was putting out bloom spikes that combine chartreuse and metallic teal colors. I had heard about these but never seen one in bloom before.
Delighted humans were not the only ones enjoying the flowers. We saw many pollinators, several types of bees, butterflies and even hummingbirds visiting the flowers. The construction on the new Visitor's Center was still underway when we visited. If I understood correctly, that is all finishing up soon. The hours were 10 to 4 on the day we visited and the entrance fee was 10 dollars. They have plants for sale and buy them we did! I especially appreciated that all the plants were labeled with scientific names. I would definitely recommend a visit and visits throughout the year to watch the garden change with the seasons. You can purchase an annual membership.