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 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 2015.
Letter from Clayton Bass, CEO
Dear Botanical Garden Members and Friends,
What a summer it has been! The monsoon season exceeded our wishes and the Botanical Garden is blooming proof. When creating a new botanical garden, there could be no better outcome than an abundance of well-timed rain during its second year to help the plants become established. Not too much or too little rain, and this is just what we have received this year. How amazing it is. I hope you visit the Garden often because the rain brings new colors and growth each week.
With Labor Day around the corner, it is time to shift our state of mind to autumn. It is a favorite time of the year for many of us. The Botanical Garden has created a delightful new experience in celebration of the fall season. On September 13 the Garden launches its first Harvest Dinners. There are a limited number of tickets and here’s how it works. Seven very generous hosts, with exquisite gardens and homes, have agreed to underwrite the expenses of the event so that all ticket revenue goes to support the Garden’s educational program offerings across Santa Fe and beyond. The ticket price is $100 per person, but there are only 103 total seats available. Time is of the essence, so be in touch quickly and don’t miss this evening of delicious food, beautiful gardens, and a chance to meet interesting new friends.
Speaking of new friends, the Botanical Garden’s Patron level ($1,000) step up campaign has been a tremendous success with $24,750 raised. As a thank you, the Sol y Cena event was held on August 27 featuring a farm-to-table dinner on the Kearny’s Gap Bridge for 70 delighted Aster Society members. Topping off the evening’s gorgeous garden setting and sunset was the music provided by the Santa Fe Symphony string quartet. Earlier this year, the Garden launched a new Cultural Partners Program to foster collaboration between Santa Fe cultural non-profits. The Santa Fe Symphony is our first partner in this program and generously provided the string quartet for Sol y Cena. Thanks to our Aster Society members and to the Symphony for their support and collaboration!
With cooler weather ahead, the Garden’s staff is busy finalizing plans for the second GLOW winter lights celebration. Following on the great success of its first year, GLOW will dramatically expand its footprint to include the Art Walk, new artistic holiday light displays, and great entertainment. Santa has agreed to make multiple appearances, guaranteeing more excitement for all ages. GLOW will kick off with a preview party on December 3, and continue on the following Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through January 3rd. The complete schedule for GLOW will be released soon, so mark your calendars for a magical holiday experience in the Botanical Garden!
Enjoy these beautiful final days of summer and I look forward to seeing you in the Garden!
Clayton Bass, CEO