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 2016.
Letter from Clayton Bass, CEO
Dear Botanical Garden Friends,
Happy New Year! Many thanks for making 2014 an extraordinary year for the Santa Fe Botanical Garden. Our community continues to demonstrate a growing passion for the Botanical Garden. There are many forms of commitment for the Garden shown by our members, volunteers, Board and staff, and all are important. Within this letter you will find examples which make the Garden’s existence and ongoing growth possible.
GLOW: Winter Lights at the Botanical Garden took a giant leap forward this year. Attendance increased by 62% over the first year, with 4,037 dazzled visitors enjoying the illuminated Garden. The new Visitors Center added an important dimension to GLOW with its warm, welcoming space and the Garden Shop. Not surprisingly, we learned that anything that blinks, glows or shines is a must-have item for all ages to purchase in the Shop. Just imagine the possibilities for next year!
Heartfelt thanks go out to our dedicated volunteers and staff who gave their time and talents to assure GLOW was a success and marvelous visitor experience. There are many things I love about GLOW—the amazing lights, happy faces, hot cocoa, warm bonfires, joyful music, twinkling stars and Moon above—but my favorite is hearing responses about peoples’ impressions of the Garden, and finding out it is their first visit. This happens over and over because GLOW is attracting LOTS of new visitors from across Santa Fe and beyond. And many are choosing to join the Garden. Just imagine how amazed they’ll be when they come back and see the Garden in bloom during the day! Staff and volunteers are already planning and fine tuning the next GLOW event to maximize its appeal, beauty and success. I will be in touch with GLOW updates later this year.
The Garden’s Year End Appeal set a new record of member giving with $53,300 received to support our educational programs, both on and off-site, as well as the care of the Botanical Garden itself, and the innovative activities presented to enrich our community throughout the year. This is an astonishing number considering the 2013 appeal provided $23,000 in operating support, which was a huge success! I extend a tremendous thanks to our members who gave so generously for the Year End Appeal. Your commitment assures critical support for the Botanical Garden as it enters the colder season when earned revenue is greatly reduced.
A new sculpture exhibition, Morphing Nature: Site Specific Sculpture from Recovered Plant Materials, is delighting Garden visitors along the Art Trail. This partnership with the Institute of American Indian Arts and the Santa Fe University of Art and Design was a popular feature during GLOW with its illuminated works. The exhibition will continue until April 26, and is magical during the Winter Season with snowy accents—don’t miss it! Speaking of winter, the Botanical Garden has many surprises to reveal. So many in fact, we are branding it the Winter Wonder Garden during this time of year. Scott Canning, Director of Horticulture and Special Projects, is offering a series of upcoming tours to share his expertise about preparing your garden for the spring, and how to best appreciate the hibernating Botanical Garden. Visit Upcoming Events for more information.
It may seem far away, but the Summer of Color is coming to Museum Hill in June 2015. This collaboration with the Museum Hill Partners includes our four neighboring museums, the International Folk Art Market, and the Botanical Garden. Together the group will present a range of exhibitions featuring a color for each throughout the summer. The Garden’s color is orange, and our container garden presentation, Monarch: Orange Takes Flight, will bring vivid delights during our most colorful season. More details will be available soon.
Thanks for your ongoing support, and come visit the Winter Wonder Garden!
Clayton Bass, CEO