About SFBG

Home/About SFBG
About SFBG 2017-05-01T14:17:23+00:00

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.

Strategic Plan: Vision 2020

Long term goals and objects for 2015 through 2020. Download and view here >

Letter from Clayton Bass, President & CEO

 May 2017

Dear Botanical Garden Enthusiasts,

Nature is the ultimate muse. There is no more inspiring place than a beautiful garden, undisturbed woodland, or uninterrupted vista. As spring unfolds, a place of beauty and respite awaits you at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden. The Garden’s audience is varied and seeks out individual experiences, and the Garden never fails to deliver. I hope you will come create your own adventure soon. Remember, it is YOUR Botanical Garden.

In 2015 the Santa Fe Botanical Garden completed an in-depth strategic planning process culminating in Vision 2020, our five-year plan. A new defining term—A Living Museum—emerged from the dialog; it helps us to re-imagine the way we consider the Garden’s mission and points to an expansive horizon of possibilities. A museum as depository, preserver and interpreter of culture, art and history has new meaning when we realize the museum’s collections are alive. Indeed they are living guideposts, and we are their caretakers and interpreters. I encourage you to come discover and explore YOUR Living Museum.

This year completes the first full year of growth for the new garden within Ojos y Manos: Eyes and Hands Garden. This garden of native plants is the largest of its kind that is open to the public in Santa Fe. Through this living collection, the Garden conveys the living history of Santa Fe, and a true sense of place. I hope you will return soon to the Garden to further explore these living resources. Like any great museum, the Santa Fe Botanical Garden is a place of continuous transition, where old and new stories emerge through the language of plants. These collections speak volumes about the cultures that have emerged, struggled and thrived in New Mexico over the centuries.

Coming soon on the heels of the opening of Ojos y Manos, I am thrilled to announce the Botanical Garden is moving forward with its third phase–the Piñon-Juniper Woodland. This 3.25-acre property is directly adjacent to Ojos y Manos and recently came to us by way of a long-term lease with the State. The purpose of the new phase is to preserve this pristine woodland ecosystem and share it with the public through innovative interpretive graphics and programs. There will be handicap accessible paths and extensive woodland trails with numerous benches to encourage lingering in this beautiful setting with lovely distant views. Our target opening date is September 30, 2017. More news will follow in the next Clippings about this exciting new garden experience.

The Bill Barrett Visual Poetry exhibition that has delighted garden audiences for the past year closes on May 1, 2017. My deepest appreciation goes to Bill and Debora Barrett for their collaboration on this successful project. On June 10, 2017 the Garden opens its next exhibition: Conception, Abstraction, Reduction: The Art of Dan, Arlo and Michael Namingha. This new exhibtion will be on display through May 20, 2018. It will be the first exhibition in a botanical garden setting that features the works of all three Namingha family members. I know the quality and variety of works within the exhibition will resonate with our visitors.

Be sure to mark your calendars for the following exciting events:

  • Sunset In the Garden – Beginning on May 4 and continuing on the first Thursday of each month through October, the concerts will feature a variety of music styles. Bring a delicious picnic and your favorite friends, and we’ll provide a stunning garden setting and sunset!
  • Shakespeare In the Garden: Hamlet and The Tempest – The Botanical Garden is your destination this summer to experience the inspiring works of William Shakespeare. The Upstart Crows will present a lively production of Hamlet by some of Santa Fe’s finest young actors. The Garden’s second production of the season is The Tempest featuring a professional cast directed by Nagle Jackson. Information will be available soon about tickets and special opportunities to “Unwind With The Cast,” so stay tuned!
  • Solstice: The Garden of Earthly Delights – Santa Fe’s most amazing garden party of the year will be a most magical evening of entertainment, food and fantasy on June 17, 2017. Tickets are available now at the Garden’s website.

Thanks in advance for your support of the Botanical Garden by attending the Solstice!

I look forward to seeing you soon and often in the Botanical Garden. Many thanks for your passionate interest and support!

Clayton Bass, President and 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