Wow! Has it really been over a week since my last post? Too much happening in the garden to sit myself down at the computer to update. Last week, as further research for an article I’m writing, I toured the Ruth Bancroft Garden with their delightful media liaison person. Talk about hidden treasure… this wonderful garden is tucked away in plain sight, smack-dab in the middle of suburban Walnut Creek.

Devoted to succulents – agaves, cacti, echeverria, and aloes, to name a few – the RB Garden is the charter member of the Garden Conservancy, and is better known to garden lovers in other parts of the world than in our own. They have an annual plant sale (the better to have succulents of your very own), a Mother’s Day boxed tea and tour, and other workshops on things like plant propagation. Very cool.

With cacti that bear a startling resemblance to characters from a Dr. Seuss book, and agaves like props from “Little Shop of Horrors” – complete with flower stalks that appear to be gigantic mutant asparagus erupting from their centers – this public garden is understandably a hit on the elementary school field trip circuit. It’s quite amazing, and you should go there. Soon.

In my own back yard, this crazy warm weather (80 degrees two days last week) resulted in visible growth in all sectors of the garden. The blue of the corydalis, coupled with its speckled leaves, add lovely notes of color and texture to the shade bed, especially now that the pink bleeding heart is just starting to bloom. Those fragile looking one-year old roses from the Heirloom mail-order company have at least tripled in size. The clematis have tiny leaves and flower buds sprouting on them. I transplanted some of last year’s given-up-for-dead geraniums, and those are leafing out. Yes, they’re stinky, but the shot of brilliant red flowers in mid-summer is just what the back patio craves. The flowering plum trees are blooming and leafing out, a gorgeous shiny claret color.

Eternally delightful are the hellebores. This deep burgundy one thrills me… the blooms seem never to fade, and they last for months. No sign yet of flowers on the daphne, but I’m ever hopeful. Besides, if we missed the flowers this year we’ll surely see them next year. Did I mention the dogwood is about to bloom? I’ll have photos of it in the next few days. Here are some other things coloring up the garden… primroses, which do fine until the sun gets too hot for them, and then splat! They wilt in the blink of an eye.

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  1. Oh now I’m having Hellebore envy! I have two (greenish and a pinkish) but none so lovely as your Burgundy!My Daphne bloomed in January & February. I think its done now..

    Love the way you did the auto drip system in your pots too!

  2. Gotta Garden says:

    Sounds like a neat place! I love visiting gardens! There’s always something new to discover.

    Lovely hellebore! Hope your daphne does bloom…such wonderful fragrance!

    Good luck with those peaches, too!

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