The outstanding public garden of dry gardening pioneer Ruth Bancroft, planted in the early 1970s and located on eight acres in Walnut Creek, is a stunning place to visit. But those who cannot make it there will find much to learn, and be inspired by, in The Bold Dry Garden. Bancroft is a fearless planter, and her landscape designs are packed with breathtaking colors, textures, and shapes. If you need a nudge toward being a more adventurous and water-wise gardener, this should do the trick. —S.B.