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, President & CEO

 April 2017

Dear Botanical Garden Supporters,

With the arrival of these radiant spring days, favorite quotes about this beloved season come to mind. If ever there was a perfect thought for gardeners, surely this is it.

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” –Margaret Atwood

Recently I was giving a tour in the Santa Fe Botanical Garden (SFBG) and saw the happy faces of volunteer gardeners preparing our living collections for the growing season and the thousands of visitors who will come to admire the Garden’s beauty this year. The Botanical Garden is a Living Museum with collections that possess the innate ability of photosynthesis (producing essential oxygen) as they bring beauty into our world.  Nature’s gifts are endless!

That same morning I was greeted by the welcoming smiles of Visitor Center volunteers, standing ready to provide memorable first impressions for the Garden’s visitors. At the core of the Garden’s mission of education are dedicated docents who serve a vital role of interpretation to deepen the learning experience for our visitors to the Botanical Garden at Museum Hill and Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve.

And let us not forget, the tireless team of volunteers assisting the SFBG staff to create the 2016 GLOW: Luna~Sol event. Last year’s GLOW doubled its footprint and total attendance! Providing another critical area of support, volunteers in the administrative offices expand the capacity of work produced and set high standards for customer service with our many phone inquiries.  Rounding out the myriad of volunteer roles at SFBG is the Board of Directors, led by Chair, Letitia Chambers. The Garden’s Board is tireless in their dedication, working together and with Botanical Garden staff to move the organization forward. It is to all Botanical Garden volunteers that I offer my sincere appreciation for your service and dedication. It is a pleasure working side-by-side with you throughout the year.

To our Clippings readers who are not Garden members or volunteers, I encourage you to expand your community by getting more involved with the Botanical Garden. There is an SFBG affinity group waiting to engage your interests and to welcome you. Contact the Botanical Garden office at 505-471-9103 for membership or volunteer information.

Important News and Dates To Keep In Mind:

  • The Ojos y Manos: Eyes and Hands Garden Public Phase Campaign has raised over $160,000 toward the $300,000 goal. Please consider a gift to cover the costs of the new Botanical Garden educational facilities and ethnobotanical gardens. Click on the Donate button below. Gifts of all sizes are important and appreciated!


  • Purchase tickets for the ultimate culinary adventure, The Botany of A Feast, on April 20. Seats are limited for this SFBG partnership with the Santa Fe Cooking School, featuring author, Deborah Madison, plus guest botanists, Sarah Federman, PhD and Elisabeth Forrestel, PhD. Click here to secure your seat.
  • Santa Fe’s legendary garden party returns on June 17, 2017, so be sure to save the date! The Botanical Garden’s Summer Solstice theme for 2017 is the Garden of Earthly Delights. So get ready for a new level of amazement and fun! Tickets will go on sale soon.
  • The Botanical Garden’s education reach expands across Santa Fe and New Mexico. In 2016, student contacts expanded to over 10,000, with combined in-garden and in-school visits—nearly doubling last year’s statistics. Many thanks to the Botanical Garden’s dedicated education staff and volunteers for a job well done!
  • Visit the Botanical Garden’s website and check the monthly calendar for the many exciting upcoming 2017 events.

In closing, I wish you a vibrant spring and offer another favorite quotation.

“The Earth laughs in flowers.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many thanks for your 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