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 preserve 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 educational programs 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.
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.
Ortiz Mountains Educational Preserve
The 1,350-acre Ortiz Mountains Educational Preserve was acquired by the Santa Fe Botanical Garden in 2001. After assuming stewardship, volunteers and staff worked to make the Preserve accessible to visitors through the addition of a network of trails and a visitors’ kiosk. The County of Santa Fe purchased the land in 2007. Santa Fe Botanical Garden managed and provided programming for the Preserve until 2015, when County Open Space took over management.
Letter from Clayton Bass, CEO
July 1, 2015
Dear Botanical Garden Enthusiasts,
Isn’t it wonderful when you see something familiar and, in a flash of realization, it suddenly is new again, as if previously unseen? Yesterday I had this experience when I met with a Museum Hill Partners colleague in the Dry Garden, instead of my office. The morning was slightly cool and the Garden was alive around us. Even though we kept focused upon our agenda, we were enveloped in the ambient hum of life—movement, color, sound, fragrance and light. I recall feeling the tension flow away, in response to the Garden’s presence.
This experience affirmed what I had just heard on public radio regarding study results confirming the restorative impact of nature upon people recovering from illness or those who are well. Test results showed improvement even with a window view or photographic image of nature. Clearly, humans are innately connected to our natural surroundings but, in this fast paced world, we sometimes forget that nature is our true home. I encourage you to make the Santa Fe Botanical Garden a frequent destination, even for a brief visit, to recharge amid nature’s beauty.
One of the many benefits of a Garden membership is the freedom to visit throughout the year, without paying admission. If you are not yet a member visit Membership for more information. When visiting the Garden, I encourage you to observe other people who are there. Typically you will see engaged, smiling visitors. A positive outlook seems to be a natural outcome of spending time with nature. There is no better time to visit the Garden than during our Summer of Color celebration with other Museum Hill Partners. For details visit www.summerofcolorsantafe.com.
On June 20 nearly three hundred attendees enjoyed the Garden’s Summer Solstice Soirée event. Like most non-profit organizations, the Botanical Garden relies upon several income streams including memberships, admissions, retail sales, grants and fundraising events. The Soiree, our largest fundraising event, is focused upon sustaining the Garden’s ongoing community program offerings and operations. My heartfelt appreciation goes out to our dedicated Solstice Soiree Committee volunteers who worked for many months to assure the event was a great success. This year’s event netted over $75,000 exceeding our goal by $20,000! Amazing!
The Botanical Garden’s Visitor Center is an important new facility that better assures a quality visitor experience. With its colorful planters and photo murals, it is a critical, welcoming gateway. I want to thank our dedicated volunteers and visitors services staff who share their time and passion for the Garden each day to assure our guests have an exceptional time and leave wanting to return. Beginning in July the Garden Shop in the Visitor Center will showcase artworks by a monthly featured artist. Botanical illustrator, Jan Denton, is featured throughout July. Don’t miss Jan’s delightful botanical works. Additional featured artists will be announced very soon!
Thanks for your interest in the Santa Fe Botanical Garden and enjoy the Summer of Color!
Clayton Bass, CEO
Santa Fe Botanical Garden is a proud member of the American Public Gardens Association and the American Alliance of Museums.