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Honored Guest Comes Early to Bancroft Garden Tour

Ruth Bancroft, 102, bought an apple tree. And hundreds more followed and bought plants in nonprofit garden's major fund-raiser.

They came in the hundreds Saturday — the plant geeks, the occasional gardeners and the merely curious — and sampled the growing things at the Ruth Bancroft Garden's Summer Customer Appreciation Plant Sale.

A special one came early in the morning and bought an apple tree. That was 102-year-old Ruth Bancroft, who started the garden in 1972 and has since turned it over to the Garden Conservancy, a nonprofit group that made the four-acre Walnut Creek property its first of many preservation projects for exceptional gardens around the country.

For this event, garden staff refurbished the paths making for easier walking and easier wheeling for the disabled, said Billie Hopper, interim executive director.

The desert and Mediterranean climate gardens have seen more casual gardeners lately as "people are getting more aware of the need to not use a lot of water," said Hopper. They come looking for drought-resistant plants and advice on how to deploy them.

In its efforts "to cultivate the general public," the garden in the former walnut grove has scheduled more social events, particularly on Friday nights, Hopper said. Already this summer there has been a tequila night with a Mexican band and a wine and jazz event.

Next up is 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9, for "bluegrass, brats and beer," said Hopper. "We're trying to bring a new crowd in."

For additional information, visit www.ruthbancroftgarden.org

Paula Miller August 07, 2011 at 02:37 AM
Ruth Bancroft is one of the true treasures of Walnut Creek! This soft spoken lady has given so much to our community in the years that she has lived here and her gifts to the arts and certainly her fabulous gardens are things from which we all benefit. We are very lucky that her wonderful husband Phil, himself a modest and very generous man, brought his bride Ruth home to Walnut Creek so many years ago to raise their family at his boyhood ranch. Thank you Bancroft family for sharing so much of yourselves and for your generosity to our community.
Thomas G Dunne August 07, 2011 at 10:42 PM
Ruth Bancroft truly has made our community a large measure better than it would have been without her. What more could anyone ask.
michael frederick August 08, 2011 at 08:20 PM
Paula and Thomas, I hope someone forwards your kind words to Ruth and her daughters. I agree completely. My uncle was proud that Drs. Aunt Nell and Frank Bancroft chose to be buried in the Stow family plot, as he insisted upon being laid to rest next to them. Ruth has done nothing but add to the pride I feel toward being from Walnut Creek. People like Ruth are my sense of what makes this place special and unique -- as are the two of you. There is a wonderful history surrounding the Bancroft farm, HH and AL Bancroft... My grandma, (Ruth also), used to go help pick fruit at the farm as a teenager a century ago. I named my daughter Ruth after grandma -- so, I admittedly have an affinity for "Ruth". There is a lesson to the story. The old-timers who hit the century mark are, invariably, gardeners. Remember Ed Bradley, WC's longest-standing Mayor, and how good he looked at 100? Keep on gardening, Ruth.
Steve Lesher August 09, 2011 at 03:24 PM
On this, Mr. Frederick and I agree.
Paula Miller August 09, 2011 at 10:32 PM
How refreshing Steve! Now we know what it takes to have a civilized conversation on Patch between very strong characters......one very special lady.

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