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

 September 2016

Just think monsoon—close your eyes and recall memories of this beloved southwestern weather phenomena. Coolness, moisture, and sound—millions of water drops making impact, plus a fresh aroma like no other. In northern New Mexico, few things conjure such a joyful response. With the arrival of the monsoon season, Santa Fe Botanical Garden’s roses resurrected like multicolored phoenix after wilting under dry and hot July skies. The rest of the Botanical Garden was inspired by the roses’ example, so now is the time to plan a return (or first) visit to the Botanical Garden. There is no doubt you will be delighted and want to linger among the many colors, fragrances, and sounds of nature.

For many of us, we are entering the most wonderful time of year. Autumn’s cool air and even clearer skies beckon everyone to come outside. The Botanical Garden’s popular Sunset: After Hours in the Garden series continues through October on the first Thursday of the month.  Few things compare to Santa Fe’s brilliant sunsets, so imagine the combination of changing musical performances each month, combined with a picnic and your special friends. This series has quickly become a favorite, and I hope to see you on September 1 at 5:00 p.m. for a relaxing time in the Garden (music will begin at 6 pm).

The opening of Phase Two – Ojos y Manos: Eyes and Hands garden occurs on Saturday, October 22nd, so save the date and plan to join in the celebration. The Garden’s first phase, the Orchard Gardens, will open at 9:00 a.m. and will include the new bridge approach garden area and Pavilion. At 11:30 am, join us for an inspirational program with guest speakers and officials culminating in the ribbon cutting ceremony to open Ojos y Manos—the amazing Learning Landscape – beyond Kearny’s Gap Bridge. The afternoon will be filled with an amazing array of programs and performances within the new Gathering Place Amphitheater until 4 pm. Botanical Garden members will receive special acknowledgment for their support and the Santa Fe community is invited to enjoy the new garden until 6:00 p.m. with free admission. The following day, the greatly expanded Botanical Garden will open with regular hours from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. I hope to see you there!

Another important “save the date” is the annual Museum Hill Community Day Celebration on Sunday, September 25th. Building upon the event’s great success in 2015, the Botanical Garden and its four museum neighbors will offer free admission all day, plus a dazzling list of programs and experiences to entertain the entire family. Plan to spend the day on Museum Hill and enjoy the great cultural resources gathered in this amazing location.

Autumn is the time of harvest, and this year the Botanical Garden’s popular Harvest Dinners returns on October 1. This event garners wildly enthusiastic responses from attendees each year. All ticket revenue supports the Garden’s expanding educational reach across Santa Fe and is possible due to the great generosity of the hosts of each dinner. Limited tickets are available. Contact Rachel Loomis-Lee, Development Director, at to secure your place at the table!

With the upcoming expansion of the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, the value of an annual membership grows exponentially, with tremendous benefits to be enjoyed year-round. Visit the Garden’s webpage for membership information. You can join or renew conveniently online or call 505-471-9103. Membership support is essential to the Garden’s ongoing educational mission and is the key to year-round experiences in nature. If you are already a Botanical Garden member, please accept my heartfelt thanks for your continued support!

Autumn is in the air, see you in the 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