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

 August 2016

Dear Garden Enthusiasts,

Water, just the sound of the word conjures memories and images in your mind. Water, or the lack thereof, is not within our control. Nature takes it course, runs its cycles, and mankind has long struggled to adjust. But we can affect the outcome of available water if we behave responsibly and plan carefully.

Core to the Santa Fe Botanical Garden’s mission is to celebrate, cultivate and conserve. Educating the public about water conservation is key to our collective survival. During this time of drought, we are reminded just how critical those monsoon rains are to sustain life. The Botanical Garden is a demonstration site for water catchment with our beautiful feature La Rambla, which meanders from the highest elevation of our Phase One down to the arroyo floor. Although this summer is dry, with careful planting of drought-tolerant plants, the Botanical Garden is an abundant and colorful landscape. If you would like to learn more about water catchment or which plants thrive best in northern New Mexico visit this page to explore the wide range of our adult programs and workshops. If we all make sustained efforts to be water-wise in our gardens and lifestyles, we all benefit, and so does the natural world.

The Santa Fe Botanical Garden offers many valuable experiences for all ages but there is a growing appreciation of the Garden as a place for relaxation surrounded by natural beauty. The Garden is now offering the series Yoga In the Garden every Tuesday from 8:00 until 9:00 a.m. and Tai Chi For Beginners every Wednesday at the same time. There is no more beautiful time than morning in the Garden. Visit us online to register or find out more information. I hope you will take advantage of these special programs to help you discover your inner calmness!

The popular music series in the Botanical Garden, Sunset: After Hours in the Garden, continues on August 4 beginning at 5:00 p.m. until sunset. This event has become a great way to share a special experience in nature with family and friends. And don’t forget to bring a picnic and more! The series continues the first Thursday monthly through October.

The exhibition Visual Poetry: Bill Barrett Sculpture continues to delight Garden visitors. The new catalog captures the show with photography from the Botanical Garden and will soon be available for sale in the Visitor Center. No doubt, it will become a treasured keepsake.

Remember to mark you calendars for Saturday, October 22, for the Grand Opening of Phase Two, Ojos y Manos: Eyes and Hands garden. It will be the culmination of the efforts and support of so many generous Botanical Garden members. I hope to see you there for the celebration.

See you in the Garden soon!

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