Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Ruth Bancroft Garden; Part 1, plants for sale

I promised you a tour of the Ruth Bancroft Garden today but it isn’t going to happen. The full visit will be tomorrow; I took too many pictures and need more time edit them down and get them posted. Here’s a teaser to peak pique your interest…(thanks Ricki for the correction)
In the meantime I’ll share a bit about their fabulous plants for sale. You see this wasn’t just a garden visit, there was shopping too! Here is their plant sales area…
See that rope keeping the curious out of the area behind the fence? Back there are all the plants that will be for sale on their official Opening Day 2012 Plant Sale held on April 14th (go if you are in the area!). The garden is closed now and through the 13th (we squeaked in just under the wire visiting on the 22nd), everyone is hard at work removing winter covers from the tender plants and prepping the garden for the season. During our visit the winter covers were still on, I was a little concerned they would detract from the experience but it wasn’t an issue.

Anyway, back to the plant shopping…we were more than a little bummed we only got to shop from the plants in front of the fence, it was pure agony to be able to survey the fabulous sale plants and not be able to buy them (you know where this is going right?). Finally a kind volunteer (whose name I’ve unfortunately forgotten) put us in touch with the Curator, Brian Kemble, who after answering multiple plant questions and listening to us lament the fact we drove down from Oregon and couldn’t come back for the sale, took down the rope and gave us free reign.
How lucky were we? Not only did we get to shop the sale plants but we had the extremely knowledgeable Mr. Kemble telling us about the plants and the garden. It just doesn’t get any better than that!
As I soaked it all in I had to remind myself to take pictures…

I’ve been on the hunt for an Agave americana var. striata since seeing a beautiful specimen during my visit to San Marcos Growers. Still I passed this one by; it just didn’t look up to a less than ideal existence in Portland, Oregon. Better that it might go home with someone who can give it a little less rain and more sun.
This variegated Agave was appealing too, but it stayed behind.
However there was no chance I was leaving without an Agave franzosinii!
After all they are practically the signature Agave of the garden, greeting people with their twisty arms as they enter (as shown in the photo at the top)...
Here is Ruth Bancroft herself posing in front of them (photo by Karl Mondon, borrowed from the garden website)…
Planted in the ground an Agave franzosinii will grow to be 8 feet tall by 10 feet wide, unfortunately mine is destined to life in a container and will not achieve its full potential. Here are my three must-haves (I know, only 3! How well behaved am I?)…the Agave, a garden hybrid of Dasylirion longissimum and an Aeonium tabuliforme…

My shopping companion did noticeably more damage…
Okay shopping complete, plants stowed away in the car, it’s time to walk the garden (tomorrow)…

31 comments:

  1. Wow wow wow!!!! That gives me über agave envy!!!!! I feel like hopping in my car and driving down to Sam Fran right this very moment!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do it! Or well at least wait until the 14th.

      Delete
  2. One of my all-time favorite gardens anywhere. I'm lucky to only live an hour away. Unfortunately, I'm going to miss their plant sale. Sure looks like they'll have a stunning selection. I love what you bought. If I had just a tad more space, I'd plant one of those Agave franzosinii.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'll plant a monkey puzzle tree, but not this one? Somebody needs to check their priorities (or spacial perception). ;-)

      Delete
    2. Uhm, I think Alan might have a point. I know the Agave has several.

      Delete
  3. The gardens look like such an amazing place, can't wait to see more.

    Lucky you to get to shop your own private pre-sale!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! It was pretty amazing.

      Delete
  4. My first thought when I saw your first picture was "Holy Cow!" I am hoping for a long and happy life for the one you bought, even though it is destined for a pot. It looks like an amazing plant. You lucky, persuasive thing, talking your way into the sale area.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually the credit goes to JJ for the talking in. I just stood there and looked sad.

      Delete
  5. Twisty arm agaves?! I need ten, now. I can't wait for full tour!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes you do, I'm so glad you realize it.

      Delete
  6. I love the way you talk your way into plant buying ops. JJ's car is great, already stocked with crates for the future purchases. The woman is obviously a pro! Look forward to the RB Garden tour!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. pique interest: check
    arouse gentle case of envy: check
    make sure we'll be back tomorrow: check

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I knew that peak/peek wasn't right. I tried to come up with the correct spelling but the silly internets weren't of any help. Thank you for helping me out! Maybe I'll send every post to you for pre-editing before it goes live? You could add it to your resume...

      Delete
  8. I totally didn't notice that you'd brought crates for the trip! That is impressive forethought and planning!!!! The spineless Opuntia robusta looks so much like an Opuntia I have.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All credit for crate (and packing planning) goes to my travel partner (and plant packing idol) JJ.

      The pads on the Opuntia were huge and thick. It was amazing.

      Delete
  9. I think you will soon need a flatbed truck, not just land! Looks like fun and I hope to visit next time. Great plants for sale, but great for the neighbors whose properties back onto that garden! And so nice of the curator to let you buy some plants.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now that would be wonderful! I could have brought home one of those huge Olives from the SF Garden Show! Yes the Curator was unbelievably nice, chatting with him (and buying plants) made the visit so much more memorable.

      Delete
  10. That flat little Aeonium is so cute! I'm amazed at your restraint...how big do you think that Agave will get in a pot?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JJ was frequently disappointed with my restraint, but as you know the plant sale season is just getting started around here. There are so many more plants to buy!

      Delete
  11. Grrr...this garden makes me ANGRY! Both RBG and Filoli were closed last November when I was up in the Bay Area and wanted to visit them. They had BOTH closed the day before I arrived. Filoli to prepare their Christmas decorations and RBG to prepare their tender plants for winter.

    I'll do my best to enjoy your post even though I'm still bitter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You bring back sad memories from my youth when my family tried to visit the Hearst Castle and it was closed. It was my mom's second failed attempt, she actually cried. She eventually did visit, and loved it. There is a RBG and Filoli visit in your future, keep the faith!

      Delete
  12. Only three plants seems wrong... but reason to make the long drive some other time, right?

    I like your thinking about how well they'll do for you, but sometimes you just have to go for it. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes only 3 plants from this stop, but my grand total on the trip...21 plants! (4 of that number were gifts from Denise of agrowingobsession.com). Six of the 21 will have to live life in a container...

      Delete
  13. Just how do you contain yourself! I can see another west coast trip coming on, for us!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jenny have you been to this garden? You'll love it...

      Delete
  14. Nice job Loree.I'm a member and I've never been behind the rope. You did good !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Will you be there for the opening day plant sale?

      Delete
  15. A stunning place Loree! Ruth Bancroft Garden are one of those places that have become almost legendary amongst exotic plant enthusiasts, and fans of cacti and succulents. Their selection of xerophytes are stunning! We must visit this place when we eventually get to make a trip to California and Oregon, very soon hopefully! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oregon!? You must let me know if you plant to make it to Portland!

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to comment. Comment moderation is on (because you know: spam), I will approve and post your comment as soon as possible!