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 images below to see what's blooming this month or 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.

July 2017 Plant Highlight: Aloe shadensis

by Brian Kemble

The Arabian Peninsula is home to quite a few species of Aloe, with most of them occurring in mountainous areas of Yemen and the adjacent western part of Saudi Arabia. This is at the northern end of the distribution of the genus, which is otherwise confined to Africa and islands in the Indian Ocean. While many of the Arabian aloes make excellent garden plants, they are mostly rare in horticulture, as is the case with Aloe shadensis.
The name “shadensis” means “coming from Shada”, referring to a mountain called Jabal Shada (also spelled Jabal Sawdah) in the southwestern corner of Saudi Arabia. The species is a relatively recent discovery, named in 2000 by an English woman named Sheila Collenette, who spent years recording the flora of Saudi Arabia. Her official description of the plant was co-authored by the renowned botanical explorer and Aloe expert John Lavranos. Because it is difficult to get permission to travel in the area, very few non-Saudis have seen it in habitat.

Aloe shadensis has stemless rosettes about 1½ feet in diameter (45 cm), and it typically remains single-headed. The tapered leaves are up to 6 inches wide (15 cm) at the base, and 24 inches long (60 cm). They are green in the shade, but quickly take on bronze tinges in sunnier positions. As with many Arabian species of Aloe, juvenile plants are spotted, but the spots disappear at maturity. Under drier and sunnier conditions, the leaves tend to pull together and be held more vertically, yielding a narrower profile, while in shadier conditions they spread more widely.
The flowering period for Aloe shadensis is in late spring to summer, beginning at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in late April to May, and ending in July or August. While young plants often have no floral branching, older ones usually have a few branches on the flower stalk, with each branch ending in a spire of flowers. The tips of the flower clusters reach a height of 40 to 60 inches (1 to 1.5 m). At the bud stage, the flowers are coral-red with a gray point, but when they open the petal tips curl back and turn yellow. Because the flowering progresses slowly from the bottom of the cluster to the top, the floral show lasts for a long time.
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