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

December 2016

Dear Botanical Garden Enthusiasts,

The holidays are here and it is time to celebrate at Santa Fe Botanical Garden with GLOW: Luna ~ Sol winter lights!  Embarking on its fourth year, the holiday event has become a beloved, must-do experience with families and friends in Santa Fe. This year’s theme of Luna ~ Sol brings a new look and displays, plus a greatly expanded footprint into the Botanical Garden’s new phase, Ojos y Manos: Eyes and Hands Garden. Children twelve and under are admitted for free, so bring the entire family!

Not only will the Botanical Garden’s plants be the illuminated stars of GLOW, this year the event features two artists working in diverse media. Victoria Rabinowe’s “Spirit Poles”, made of small painted aspen trunks, are integrated into GLOW and provide a powerful visual rhythm of color and pattern. Christopher Short is an award winning laser artist who recently relocated to Santa Fe from Arizona. His dazzling laser presentations will amaze all ages and will be offered nightly in the new Hendricksen Pavilion. Rounding out the Garden’s fine art offerings are the stunning sculptures by Bill Barrett, illuminated and transformed for GLOW. As you will see, GLOW continues to evolve in exciting news ways!

I would like to express my deepest appreciation to the Botanical Garden’s volunteers for their dedicated work with Sarah Spearman, GLOW Director, to expand the event to include hands-on activities for children and a wide range of musical offerings every night. Also, major kudos go to Sarah Spearman for her skillful coordination and marketing efforts for the event. GLOW simply could not happen without strong volunteer and staff support, so many thanks to everyone on the GLOW team. Visit the website to purchase tickets and learn more about GLOW: Luna ~ Sol. I look forward to seeing you there!

Currently the Garden’s Year-End Appeal and Public Campaign for Ojos y Manos: Eyes and Hands Garden are two compelling ways for you to assure YOUR GARDEN continues to flourish and serve our community. Learn more at our website, or contact Rachel Loomis, Director of Development, at 505-471-9103 to make a gift and help us reach our goals. Your support is vital to the Botanical Garden’s success!

As we approach the year’s end it is a good time to reflect upon the Santa Fe Botanical Garden’s remarkable growth and progress since opening the Botanical Garden at Museum Hill in July, 2013. This rapid growth would not be possible without the generous support of our members and donors, and their ongoing help is greatly appreciated. The Botanical Garden continues to receive enthusiastic support and interest from Santa Fe’s citizens and visitors from around the world.

Here’s wishing you a joyous holiday season and a wonderful New Year ahead!

I look forward to seeing you at GLOW!

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