Ruth Bancroft Garden

1552 Bancroft Rd, Walnut Creek, CA 94598, United States

The Ruth Bancroft Garden is a 2.5-acre dry public garden that Ruth Bancroft maintains. This includes more than 2,000 native California, Mexico, Chile, South Africa, and Australia cactuses, succulents, trees, and shrubs. It is located at 1552 Walnut Creek Bancroft Street, California, USA.

The Ruth Bancroft Garden occupies land that once was part of a 400-acre fruit farm in the Ygnacio Valley that grew walnuts and Bartlett pears. Hubert Howe Bancroft, a renowned historian, and publisher who amassed a large personal collection of books related to the American West, began the farm in the 1880s. Bancroft sold his valuable library to the University of California, which had been The Bancroft Library’s nucleus.

The farm won first place in the state in the 1930s for pears 8 out of 9 years. The farm had 200 seasonal workers, at the height of growth. They exported Pears to the North and as far away as Scotland. The farm was sold to Philip Bancroft, Sr. and then to his son, Philip Bancroft, Jr. The farm remained in operation until the late 1960s when the land was rezoned for residential use in the area. The property had been sold to developers to enlarge Walnut Creek. The last walnut orchard on the property was cut down in 1971, and its owner, Ruth, was given this land by Philip Bancroft, Jr. to grow a new garden using the succulents from her vast collection.

Ruth Bancroft Garden, Inc.’s goal is to conserve this outstanding example of garden design and to continue cultivating its collection of water-conserving plants for education and public enjoyment.

The Ruth Bancroft Garden is a prime example of garden design art with drought-tolerant plants and is recognized as one of the world’s finest dry gardens. The Garden exhibits an extensive collection of plants from the desert and Mediterranean climates of the world, collected by Ruth Bancroft over 60 years. Each season in the Garden offers something different and visitors will be in awe of the boldness and elegance of Ruth’s work.

This is the place to brighten someone’s day with a living gift. Great photos of mature plants are shown in gardens like yours to demonstrate how they should appear. People who grow, tend, and educate plants are here to help with questions and challenges about your garden. The options you buy here will grow with minimal care and water for you, as they do in 300 + plants in my gardens. Classes and workshops are also given to those who want to learn more.

Image courtesy of Jeffreymendel Jeffrey Nash – Own work, CC BY 3.0,

This amazing landmark is located near the following must-see sights in Walnut Creek, California:

  • Lesher Center for the Arts
  • Lindsay Wildlife Museum 
  • Mount Diablo State Park 
  • Old Borges Ranch 
  • St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
  • Shadelands Ranch Museum 
  • Walden Park Disc Golf Course 
  • Walnut Creek Model Railroad Society

All of these landmarks are located just a short distance from our location in downtown Walnut Creek, Spaulding Concrete on Locust Street.