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.

  • Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve 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.
  • Santa Fe Botanical Garden at Museum Hill 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

 May 2016

Abundant rains in the past few weeks have jump-started the Botanical Garden into a full awakening of our living collections. I encourage you to go to the Garden very soon and experience the colorful progression of blooms already taking place. The crabapple trees and claret cup cacti are taking a dramatic lead. And how exciting to consider, this is just the beginning of what will be many months of visual bounty, rich fragrances and sweeping vistas for our visitors to the Garden.

Excitement is building daily for the upcoming Solstice Cirque Spectacular on June 18. There is still time to purchase event and raffle tickets for what I am certain will be an unforgettable evening at the Botanical Garden. A key point to remember, funds generated by the Solstice event are essential for the Garden to deliver and grow its educational programs at both of our sites and to take them into the Santa Fe community. The educational challenges in Santa Fe are well known, but the Botanical Garden is playing a vital role as a partner with the schools by providing expertise and resources to expand learning experiences for students of all ages. Your support of the Solstice is important and appreciated. I look forward to seeing you there. For more information, visit us online.

The Garden’s annual meeting each April is a time of passing the leadership torch for Board officers, transitions for Board members who have fulfilled their terms, and a time to celebrate past successes as we look forward to exciting growth. I offer my heartfelt thanks to Cathy Gronquist for her leadership as President during the past two years. Although Cathy has completed her term, a new by-law change allows Board Presidents to stay on for one additional year as a voting member to better assure a smooth transition. Letitia Chambers has stepped into the President’s role and brings years of experience in the non-profit, private and governmental sectors to the organization, plus she is a passionate gardener! Other new officers include Liz Rees – Vice President, Elva Busch – Secretary, and Kevin Flores will continue as Treasurer. Great appreciation also goes to Cathy Kalenian and Fletcher Catron for their dedicated service during a period of great change for the Garden. New or temporary Board members beginning full terms include Ed Adcock, Elva Busch, Ken Kirk, Stephen Reilly and Linda Saurage. The Botanical Garden’s ongoing growth in scope and reach is due in large part to our engaged Board of Directors. You are greatly appreciated and I look forward to more successful years of collaboration.

May 1 is a time to celebrate the re-opening of the Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve for the season. This year the Preserve will have expanded weekend hours from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday, allowing its devoted visitors more time within this most special place. Many exciting programs are planned at the Preserve, so visit us online for more information.

The Garden’s popular new series Sunset: After Hours in the Garden continues this year with its first event on May 5. Bring your friends, a picnic and beverages of choice to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with festive music amid a blooming garden. The series continues monthly on the first Thursday, with the exception of July when the event will occur on the 14th, due to the International Folk Art Market set up.

The Botanical Garden welcomes Rachel Loomis-Lee, Development Director, to the staff. Rachel brings over fifteen years of fundraising and campaign experience and has just relocated to Santa Fe from Telluride, Colorado where she directed fundraising for the Mountain School. Her duties at SFBG include working on the Capital Campaign, business membership development and serving as staff liaison for major fundraisers. Welcome Rachel!

The closing of the popular Power of Place exhibition on May 15 opens a new chapter in the Garden’s changing programs of fine art with Visual Poetry: Bill Barrett Sculpture opening on June 1 and continuing through May 14, 2017. Barrett’s works are a celebration of nature inspired abstract imagery that evokes both figurative and botanical elements. Sixteen works varying in size and materials will grace the Botanical Garden, to delight and inspire our visitors. An exciting series of Visual Poetry programs will be announced very soon, so stay tuned!

Thanks so much for your passion and support for the Botanical Garden!


Clayton Bass, CEO


Santa Fe Botanical Garden is a proud member of the American Public Gardens Association and the American Alliance of Museums. APGA_member_rgb Santa-Fe-Chamber-of-Commerce-Logo