Aloe Time at the Ruth Bancroft Garden -A Sunrise Photo Session

 The Ruth Bancroft Garden is extremely photogenic and those who arrange events there have been providing  the opportunity  over the last few years for photographers to access the garden early in the morning when the light optimum for photography. I've attended several photo classes that feature pre-opening entry into the garden allowing the photographer to take advantage of the light that is to be had before 10am. Last Saturday the photo session welcomed us in at 7:30am , with no structured class or instructor. We were able to wander the garden at will a full 2 and a half hours before it opened to the public, and because it is January plenty of drama was provided by blooming Aloes.

 In full disclosure, I am not particularly competent in Aloe naming, though I am on a crusade to improve this in 2018. I think because so many are not hardy or very marginal in my garden I haven't taken the time to learn more about them. Because I took very modest precautions with winter protection for those I do own and can claim 100% success, I am ready to push the envelope.



 Aren't they beautiful ?


I believe this is Aloe ferox. I bought 2 small plants last fall, and have them in containers. I have no idea where to put them . Don't trust me on the ID though.




 This is Aloe wickensii , lots of photographer activity around this clump of Aloes.


 The frost tunnel is still up at the garden and you can get some pretty nice
images inside the structure when the light is right.





And sadly, one of my favorite Agaves in the garden is a goner .This Agave gypsophila is blooming and on the road to well, the end of the road.


 And speaking of doomed Agaves... I love the asparagus quality on this one. To the lower right is one of the structures that RBG uses for rain and/or frost protection.


 Here are a few more Aloe-centric photos.




A grove of Aloe striata .




 Not sure what was going on here.



 But the Aloes weren't all that was going on.. If I could just get the damn snails to leave Agave 'Cornelius' alone I might be able to have nice clump like this. They are quite hardy here and are a nice size for a small garden.



 More Agaves ..







 The morning was pleasantly overcast but eventually the sun came out and we had to contend with the bright contrasty light of Walnut Creek. Going into areas that were in partial shade helped.









The Ruth Bancroft Garden is currently in the process of building a new visitors and education center. It was nice to see tantalizing glimpses of the construction over the temporary fence barrier. 


 




Comments

  1. I wonder why so many of these images look familiar, ha ha. I loved being able to walk around a virtually empty garden.

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    1. I'm looking forward to seeing your photos, and what enhancements the tripod may have provided. I sure deleted alot of blurry stuff.

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  2. Wonderful photos, Kathy! Those curving aloe flowers made me think of dragons, or sea serpents. Maybe the garden had a cover over the plants at one point when the flowers were developing? I look forward to the day when more of my aloes bloom - the down side of starting with small plants is that they take their time reaching bloom size. I'm wondering if feeding them, as Debra Lee Baldwin recommends, would help.

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    1. Good call on the curly blooms Kris.Even though there were still quite a few covers on that possibility never occurred to me.I have to say I rarely fertilize anything except my container Fuchsias, container citrus and the Clematis.Maybe the roses get a handful of alfalfa meal every couple of years.The garden at large and the container succulents get nothing. Now that you mention it I might experiment with a little fertilizer on the succulents this spring-extremely diluted Maxsea or the like.

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    2. Clemens
      Hi there. That aloe (looks like a white Ferox) fell over. Aloe flowers are grows strictly anti-gravitational, and quickly, so if you tilt an aloe with young flowers, the new flower development will still be 180' away from the ground. So you can grow a zigzag aloe flower by tilting a pot grown plant every few days while the flower is developing...! Aloes are very heavy feeders, Leo Thamm of Sunbird Aloes suggest a topping of manure around aloes every year to promote growth and flowering.

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    3. Hi, I like the fell-over theory and will ask around the next time I am at the garden.

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  3. What a special treat to see this magnificent garden in the gentle early morning light. Fabulous pictures!

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    1. I hope you get to visit it again sometime when it's not 100 Peter !

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  4. Your photo of the Aloe ferox flower makes it look very red, but when I Googled it, they all look pretty typical Aloe-orange. Is the color in your photo a trick of the light/time of day? You got some great shots!

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    1. Alison, there is always the possibility that I misidentified that Aloe as Ferox, but I think the color is variable as the bloom progresses.I looked on the 'whats in bloom' map of RBG and the location seems about right.In any case this uncertainty on my part is what has prompted me to be better at Aloe ID. They are doing a blooming Aloe tour this Saturday but it's full.

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    2. There is a range of colors to be found in ferox; from yellow through oranges to very red. Also as they open the color lightens, so deep yellow becomes a lighter yellow, very red becomes dark orange, and so forth.

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  5. These are wonderful -- so glad you and Gerhard are grabbing these photos for us to enjoy. That Agave gypsophila (which has a new name) seems to rush to bloom, from what I've seen. I was studying mine yesterday for impending signs. I gotta say, from your photo, it's a spectacular sight in bloom.

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    1. My former fave Agave there was a sharkskin that was so perfect in every way, and it bloomed and bit the dust a couple years ago.So I transferred my affections to this one.At least I have plenty of photos to remember it by.

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  6. Just lovely! Thank you for sharing these gorgeous photos Kathy.

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  7. Those Alloes are stunning! I love the Ruth Bancroft Garden.

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