The Garden’s Mission
The Santa Fe Botanical Garden celebrates, cultivates and conserves the rich botanical heritage and biodiversity of our region. In partnership with nature, we demonstrate our commitment through education, community service, presentation of the arts, and the sustainable management of our nature preserves and public garden.
It began in 1987 as a vision of a small group of local gardeners, botanists and environmentally oriented citizens to establish a botanical garden in Santa Fe. This garden has become a valuable resource to our area through programs of education and service to the community.
Their vision grew, and in 1993 the Santa Fe Botanical Garden entered into a long-term lease with the trustees of El Rancho de las Golondrinas for the Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve. This 35-acre site with its spring fed pond and remarkable diversity of plants and wildlife quickly became the focus of much of the organization’s educational programming. Dedicated volunteers spent countless hours removing exotic and invasive plants, restoring the habitat through revegetation and ensuring that the pond remain a healthy environment for riparian plants, birds and invertebrates.
The 1,350-acre Ortiz Mountains Educational Preserve was acquired by the Santa Fe Botanical Garden in 2001 (a condition in the settlement agreement requiring cessation of mining activities). Since assuming stewardship, volunteers have worked to make the Preserve accessible to visitors through the addition of a network of trails and a visitors’ kiosk. Although the County of Santa Fe purchased the land in 2007, Santa Fe Botanical Garden continues to manage and provide programming for the Preserve.
In December 2006 eleven acres of land were acquired on a long-term lease from the City of Santa Fe for the development of a botanical garden at Museum Hill. Nationally recognized landscape architect W. Gary Smith was hired to create a master plan for the new garden. Following an intensive review process, the master plan was approved by the City of Santa Fe in 2011. Additional acreage was leased from the City of Santa Fe and the State of New Mexico bringing the total to 14 acres in 2013. Phase 1, the Orchard Gardens, opened in July 2013 attracting 18,000 visitors during the first six months of operations. A visitor center and Phase 2, Ojos y Manos: Eyes and Hands, are scheduled to open in 2016.
Letter from Clayton Bass, CEO
Dear Garden Members and Friends,
It’s official: spring is here! The Santa Fe Botanical Garden (SFBG) is already sending out buds, shoots and sprouts. Effective today, April 1st, the Garden shifts to a full schedule of seven days a week, open from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. All gardeners know the saying about new planting—in year one the plants sleep, year two they creep, but in year three they leap! And for the SFBG, it’s time to leap, both for the garden itself and the many exciting upcoming programs and activities.
The staff takes the suggestions of our valuable Garden members seriously. One idea that keeps coming up is to keep the Garden open past 5:00 p.m. in the warm season to allow for views of Santa Fe’s amazing sunsets. Beginning in May through September, the Garden will stay open on the third Thursday until 7:30 p.m. This new after-hours event will be a time to unwind with friends and family in a spectacular natural setting. Since Thursday is the new Friday, mark your calendars and get ready for brilliant colors in the sky and the Botanical Garden. More information will be announced soon about these fun events.
The Garden’s temporary visitor center is being transformed with colorful SFBG graphics, directional signage, ADA ramp and new planter boxes. This inviting new front door to the Garden also contains the reimagined Garden Store. Our newest employee, Deirdre Crockett, coordinates the Garden’s visitor services and retail operations. She brings years of experience and creative ideas to the SFBG Team. With her input, I am confident these critical front line features will thrive. Welcome Deirdre!
A new color theme is soon to emerge at the Botanical Garden—orange in its many guises! In collaboration with the Museum Hill Partners’ Summer of Color celebrations, the Garden’s program offering, Monarch: Orange Takes Flight, will brighten the season with a series of brilliant container gardens designed by area businesses and placed around the Orchard Garden. Monarch is a summer-long project to engage our members, visitors to the Garden, youth and community groups in protecting monarchs and restoring their habitat.
The current sculpture exhibition along the Art Trail, Morphing Nature, has been a favorite with our visitors. These imaginative artworks were created by students from the Institute of American Indian Arts and the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. The exhibition continues through April 26, so don’t miss it. On May 15, the Garden’s first invitational exhibition, The of Place, will open along the Art Trail featuring fifteen of New Mexico’s most celebrated sculptors working in realistic and abstract styles.
Your passion and support for the Botanical Garden are greatly appreciated. Be sure to visit the Garden soon and enjoy the colors of spring!
Clayton Bass, CEO
Santa Fe Botanical Garden is a proud member of the American Public Gardens Association and the American Alliance of Museums.