This garden is a small piece of a 400 acre walnut and pear farm started by Ruth Bancroft’s husband’s grandfather. When the farm was sold to developers in the late 1960s the Bancrofts reserved a few acres for their home and for the garden that Ruth wanted to create. She was interested in succulents that would thrive in the dry, hot climate and planted thousands of specimens both native and non-native to California. The garden remained private until 1992 when it was open to the public. Ruth no longer works in the garden but she’ll celebrate her 109th birthday in August! The garden seems larger than it is because of the way the paths twist around and the number of unusual and interesting plants.
The paths are hard packed dirt so rolling is fairly easy. A few paths are too narrow for wheelchairs but most are fine. The parking lot is surfaced with large gravel which is very difficult to push through. Try to park close to the entry booth.