I just learned that Ruth died on Sunday, 11/26/17, at age 109. I'm so glad that I visited her garden when I could "feel" that she was still enjoying all of us visitors marveling at her creation.
Some 20 years ago, I first visited the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, shortly after it had become the first preservation project of The Garden Conservancy. It was a wonderland of color, texture and form that in my mind are penultimately exemplified by cacti and succulents, especially succulents. Visiting again two weeks ago, the two-decades-on growth has only increased this richness.
Perusing the nursery shop in hopes of finding some of the rarities for sale, I heard a staff person relating Ruth’s visit the previous week in a cart traveling around the garden. Now 109 and still living in her home on the grounds, she visits the garden relatively infrequently but still keeps track of “who” is planted where -- she had asked why a particular plant had been moved from one bed to another.
The 2.5 acre dry garden contains more than 2,000 cactus, succulents, trees, and shrubs native to California, Mexico, Chile, South Africa, and Australia. For more information and to visit, see http://www.ruthbancroftgarden.org/