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,
The Autumn Equinox has past and the air is quickly becoming more brisk. The Botanical Garden is abundant with changing colors, textures and quiet places for our visitors to recharge in nature. Of its many attributes, the Garden’s role as a place of personal contemplation and reflection is undeniably one of its greatest strengths. Although intangible, the feeling of being transformed by the beauty of a natural setting is undeniable. Releasing stress is increasingly important in our fast-paced, plugged-in lifestyles. So consider adding true relaxation to your many reasons for visiting. The Garden is your ultimate living room where all of your senses can come alive.
Speaking of engaging your senses, the Origami in the Garden exhibition by Kevin Box continues through Sunday, October 26. If you only see one art exhibition in Santa Fe this autumn, I strongly recommend it. Even if you have seen the exhibition, the Garden’s seasonal changes bring new elements that interact with the works in intriguing ways. Box’s compelling art works have inspired and delighted thousands of Garden visitors since opening in April. The exhibition will transition into a major traveling exhibition that will be featured at botanical gardens across the US in coming years. Congratulations and thanks to Kevin for his generous collaboration and Selby Fleetwood Gallery for their partnership and support.
Continuing with the theme of nature and art, the Garden is delighted to announce a new collaboration with Axle Contemporary for the upcoming sculpture installation, Wilderness Acts – Art in Nature, at Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve. This project aligns with the national observance of the 50 year anniversary of the Wilderness Act, which assured preservation of wild places in the US and has served as a model for the world. The exhibition runs from September 28 through November 9, 2014. Check here for times and events. Be sure to visit Leonora Curtin to experience the golden cottonwood trees and the exhibition.
Our Fall Lecture Series, Gardens of the Mind: Sustainability kicks off at the Santa Fe Women’s Club on October 6 with Eating, Loving and Learning in the Santa Fe Garden. This panel discussion will feature a fascinating range of speakers discussing how they incorporate sustainable gardening techniques. This popular series continues through November and December exploring important topics such as pollinators and gardening during times of drought. The Garden’s website provides program details. Be certain to register early online since there is great demand.
The Garden’s recent event, Harvest Dinners, was a great success and excellent effort to engage our community and grow support. More than a fundraiser, it was a “friend raiser” for the Botanical Garden, with a large percentage of attendees who were new to our organization. Special thanks go out to all of our dinner hosts for their hospitality and for covering event expenses. Because of their generosity, the $7,700 in ticket revenue supports the Garden’s growing education initiatives in Santa Fe and Abiquiu. Feedback from Harvest Dinners has been so enthusiastic, there is no doubt the event will occur again next year.
As the days grow shorter and cooler, don’t despair. GLOW is on the horizon, and this year the Garden’s winter lights celebration will turn up the dazzle, expand its footprint in the Garden, and introduce features that will delight all ages. There will be brilliant geodesic domes with light and sound shows, an exciting variety of entertainment, delicious food, and holiday beverages. Even Santa has made room in his busy schedule to make guest appearances. The GLOW preview party is scheduled for December 3, and it will be a night not to be missed. Early-bird tickets will go on sale soon, offering considerable savings. Be sure to mark your calendars and plan to attend GLOW, not just once, but several times. Something this much fun is worth doing more than once! Complete GLOW details will be available soon on the Garden’s website. I hope to see you in the Garden soon, and in the dome at GLOW!
Clayton Bass, CEO