Bay Area Secrets

The Ruth Bancroft Garden‘s curator of succulents shares his secrets for succulent survival in the San Ramon Valley part of the Bay Area. (Hint: it gets colder there than here.)

Growing succulents in the Bay Area is not the impossible task that it might seem, says Brian Kemble, curator of the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek….

The garden now closes for one month each autumn while workers cover the particularly frost- and rain-sensitive plants as protection against a cold snap.

“It’s worth it,” Kemble says, “to grow all of these wonderful plants.”

And if a bad frost comes, as it did in 1972 and 1990, you accept your losses and move on….

Protecting your plants from frost damage is very important. The Ruth Bancroft Garden puts many specimens under plastic-covered wooden frames from November through March. The clear plastic lets light in and helps trap warm air inside. The bottom of the cover is raised above ground to allow for air circulation. Because the garden has so many plants, the covers are routinely placed, but in a home garden, covers can be added only in a threat of frost or extremely cold temperatures.

By the way, Friday they’re having,

Bluegrass, Brats and Beer in the Garden! Friday September 9, 5:30 till 8 p.m.

  Cactus and Succulents
  Carnivorous Plants

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February 2024

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