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

 October 2016


Dear Botanical Garden Enthusiasts,

As I consider the transformation soon to take place on October 22, 2016 at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden (SFBG), a favorite quotation by Margaret Mead seems most fitting.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

The efforts of many generous individuals working together have brought the Garden to this grand opening celebration of Ojos y Manos: Eyes and Hands garden, a learning landscape for all ages. The past year has flown by since sixty people gathered in a driving rain on the project site for the garden’s groundbreaking. The culmination of focused collaborations by our Board of Directors, Capital Campaign Committee, donors, members, volunteers and Botanical Garden staff have brought about tremendous forward momentum, preparing SFBG to reach the next level in its development.

The construction effort to realize landscape architect W. Gary Smith’s inspired design has benefited greatly by the standards of excellence achieved by our construction team, including Mountain West Golfscapes, AOS Architects, New Mexico Stone, Bristol Steel, CMY Steel, Sarcon Construction, and other subcontractors.  As you can see, it really does take a village to create a world-class botanical garden for Santa Fe, New Mexico. Through these determined efforts, the long held dream of the Santa Fe Botanical Garden is being fully realized.

It is with gratitude and excitement that I invite each of you to attend the grand opening celebration on October 22nd at 11:30 a.m. on the red Kearny’s Gap Bridge. It will be a time of appreciation, reflection and looking forward to new chapters in the ongoing development of the Santa Fe Botanical Garden. If anyone asks you, as they often do me, who is funding the growth of the Botanical Garden on Museum Hill? The answer is—the thoughtful, committed, citizens of Santa Fe. A shared vision is a powerful thing.

With appreciation,

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