In the Garden

What's in Bloom?

There's always something to see at The Ruth Bancroft Garden! Pick up a "What's in Bloom" guide when you check in for your tour. You can click the thumbnail below to see what's blooming this month.

Click here to view pdf.

Check out our Flickr Photostream as well! With photos organized by the month they were taken in, you can see what the Garden looks like throughout the year.

April 2017 Plant Highlight: Thelocactus rinconensis

by Brian Kemble

Thelocactus is not a large genus, containing a dozen or so species native to north-central and northeastern Mexico and across the border into southern Texas. They vary greatly in their spination, which can be sparse or so dense as to hide the body from view. Their large flowers range from white to pink to magenta, or occasionally yellow. Some species form clumps regularly, but others are single or with an occasional offset. The largest species of all is Thelocactus rinconensis, which is found in the Mexican states of Coahuila and Nuevo Leon.

Thelocactus rinconensis can grow to a diameter of as much as 8 inches (20 cm), and its profile can be hemispherical or more flattened. The body is made up of thimble-like tubercles, each topped with several stout spines whose length varies greatly from one population to another. In some populations there are also smaller spines (called radial spines) around the edge of each spine cluster. In the forms with stouter spines, it is common for the older ones to become shredded with age, a character not often seen in cacti. The color of the plant body ranges from pale blue-gray to grayish-green. Although plants are most often single-headed, they may sometimes have a few offsets.

crested form of T. rinconensis

Like many kinds of cacti, Thelocactus rinconensis tends to flower in bursts. The first burst comes in early spring (generally between mid-March and mid-April at the Ruth Bancroft Garden), and several weeks may pass between flowering episodes. The last flowers may come as late as mid-September. The flower color is usually white or pale pink, sometimes with some yellow at the bases of the petals, but there are also deeper pink forms reported.

Although the part of Mexico where T. rinconensis grows is not a winter-rainfall region, plants can endure our wetter California winters if given plenty of sun and excellent drainage. This species can take winter temperatures down to the low 20’s F (about -6° C).

Plant Donations to The Garden

Many people express interest in donating plants to the Ruth Bancroft Garden. These include plants that have grown too large for their space, may no longer be desirable for the owner, mature landscape plants that are being removed to make way for new plantings, or were owned by friends or loved ones. Plant donations to the garden are most appreciated but must be approved by staff prior to drop-offs. Many donations are repotted in our nursery and sold at our plant sales to raise money to support the garden, while a choice few plants will be accessioned into our collection, depending on the species and whether it is represented in our collection.

If you are interested in donating plants, we request that you email digital images of the plants along with any identifying information you may have to our Garden Curator, Brian Kemble or Nursery Mananger, Steven Wexler.  They will be happy to determine which plants are appropriate for donation.

Garden Plant Information

The Ruth Bancroft Garden Tree Map

What's New in The Garden? Look here for interesting garden updates from the RBG gardeners' perspectives

Ruth's Tips
The Ruth Bancroft Garden Staff has been contributing "Ruth's Tips" articles to the Home & Garden section of Bay Area newspapers since 2005. We are currently in the process of scanning the printed articles to make them available online. Scanned articles are available here.
Plant Highlight Archives
View list in order of publication.
View list in alphabetical order.

To Plants in the Nursery

What's in Bloom?

Plant Highlight

Plant Donations

Garden Plant Information

Ruth's Tips Article

Plant Highlight Archives


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Mission Statement
The mission of the Ruth Bancroft Garden, Inc. is to preserve this exceptional example of garden design and to continue to develop its collection of water-conserving plants for the education and enjoyment of the public.  
Grant Funders

The Ruth Bancroft Garden would like to recognize the following grant funders:

The Quest Foundation for funding our Education Coordinator’s position

The Mervyn L. Brenner Foundation and The Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust for funding our directional signs

The California Horticultural Society for funding towards our restoration projects

The Bonita Garden Clubfor funding restoration and education projects


The Ruth Bancroft Garden GardenConservancy