Skip to main content

Our Community Focus

In Loving Memory - Ruth Bancroft

Jan 02, 2018 05:09PM

Walnut Creek Gardening Pioneer Passes Away at 109

On behalf of The Ruth Bancroft Garden and the Bancroft family, we are saddened to announce the passing of our beloved founder, Ruth Bancroft. Ruth, who was 109 years of age, died at home surrounded by family and the extensive and amazing private and public gardens she created and tended over 76 years of her lifetime.

Mrs. Bancroft gained international recognition for her pioneering work in horticulture, demonstrating that a dry garden in the heart of a busy urban, inland corridor could be lush, diverse, and striking in design. Her garden was the inspiration for the founding of The Garden Conservancy in 1989, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving private gardens for public use. The Ruth Bancroft Garden was its first preservation project in 1992.

Garden Curator Brian Kemble explains why Ruth was such a special and influential person. “When Ruth Bancroft began planting her succulent garden in Walnut Creek back in 1972, it was a radical departure from other gardens in the area. This lack of precedent meant that she was pushing the envelope quite a bit to find out if various plants would work in the local climate zone. We were all inspired by her experimentation and her flair for composition, and those of us at the garden see it as our mission to keep on pushing the envelope a little further, letting Ruth’s spirit motivate us as we continue to try out new plants and guide the garden’s evolution. It’s up to us to keep Ruth’s dream alive!”

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in honor of Mrs. Bancroft be directed to benefit the mission of The Ruth Bancroft Garden at 1552 Bancroft Road, Walnut Creek, 94598, or via the garden website (below).

The garden will host a life celebration for Ruth on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. Open house is 11am – 4pm. All are welcome to this free event, however, RSVP is required. Visit to sign-up today.

Photo by Karl Mondon


Oasis Veterinary Pet Adoption Connection


Loading Family Features Content Widget
Loading Family Features Article