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A Desert in the City

Articles: A Desert in the City

Mexican palo verde (Parkinsonia aculeata) at center and to the left, with magenta flowered mesembryanthemums and yuccas. Three photographs by Lester Hawkins.
A remarkable garden containing many cacti and other succulent plants and requiring little irrigation is described by Editor Emeritus, Owen Pearce.
A dramatically unusual landscape has been created during the past few years in a part of what was long called the Bancroft Farm, mostly in orchards, in Ygnacio Valley, now in the northeastern part of Walnut Creek, California.

Hubert Howe Bancroft, famed California historian and founder of the University of California’s Bancroft Library, was the grandfather of the present owner, Philip Bancroft Jr. Hubert Bancroft purchased the property in 1885 when it was an extensive grain field dotted with valley oaks (Quercus lobata), many of which are still standing in all their statuesque glory. Several of these trees, with their broadly-spreading, rounded forms and weeping lower branches, form magnificent framing and backgrounds for the house and for parts of the garden. The first Mr. Bancroft planted fruit and walnut...


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