Photo: Brown Cannon III

Photo: Brown Cannon III

Lessons from the Ruth Bancroft Garden

By Johanna Silver
Photographs by Marion Brenner

***A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2016: “Combining biography of the dry-garden pioneer with a landscaper's guide, Silver and photographer Brenner tour the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, Calif., and discuss the life and work of its creator and namesake. Replete with brilliant color photography, this hopeful book will win over anyone who doubts that a desolate landscape can support thriving life.”

Dry-gardening pioneer Ruth Bancroft grew a private landscape so remarkable, it spurred the founding of the Garden Conservancy. Since then, Bancroft’s masterpiece has become one of America’s most acclaimed public gardens. What makes this waterwise haven so noteworthy—and so relevant for today’s home gardener? At its heart, the Ruth Bancroft Garden is a testament to fearless planting. A lover of succulents, Ruth Bancroft is a curious, experimental plant collector. It is this drive that shaped the garden into a wondrous model of xeriscaping. Succulents, wildflowers, roses, cacti, and trees come together in a collage of colors, textures, and shapes. As low-water realities dominate an increasing number of gardens, Bancroft’s example shows us how dry can be not only bold, but breathtaking.

In this lush guide, Johanna Silver offers behind-the-scenes secrets every gardener will appreciate. Revealed here are many of Ruth’s techniques, tips, and plant favorites. Evocative photographs include images of the garden’s evolution, glimpses of Bancroft throughout her life, and stunning plant profiles.

Ruth Bancroft first planted her iconic garden in the early 1970s, but its lessons have never been more timely. Let the wisdom of The Bold Dry Garden empower your own daring adventures in beautiful, low-water plantscaping.

Available from Timber Press, Amazon, Indiebound, and everywhere books are sold.