About Santa Fe Botanical Garden

Xeric Garden at the Botanical Garden at Museum Hill. Photo by Brian Koehl.

About Santa Fe Botanical Garden

The Santa Fe Botanical Garden features two sites on more than 55 acres: The Botanical Garden at Museum Hill, and the Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve in La Cienega. Both sites are open to the public and offer events and education programs for all ages.

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The Santa Fe Botanical 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.


Fall in Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve

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.  Phase 2 of the garden, Ojos y Manos: Eyes and Hands, opened in the Fall of 2016 and explores ethnobotany through hands-on experiences and observation. The next phase, Piñon-Juniper Woodland, is made up of 3.25 acres directly adjacent to Ojos y Manos, and is slated to open in 2019. The Woodland will feature walking paths, a Children’s Area, and educational signage on why the piñon-juniper woodland is so crucial to our ecosystem. This recent lease from the State of New Mexico brings the total acres occupied by the Botanical Garden to 20.5.
  • 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

October 2019

Dear Botanical Garden Members and Supporters,

Last month, the cooler days of the fall proclaimed the arrival of the Botanical Garden’s Equinox Celebration, the largest annual fundraiser in support of our educational mission. On September 21, more than 150 attendees delighted in the Garden’s beauty, a stunning multi-color sunset, and each other’s company. Thanks to those who supported this important event to assure the Garden’s environmental education programs and partnerships continue to benefit tens of thousands of youth and adults across our community.

Tremendous admiration and appreciation go to the entire Equinox Committee, led by co-chairs, Barcy Fox and Kim Larsen. Your creativity and diligence certainly paid off! The success of the event could not have happened without the support of our Board of Directors, individual and corporate sponsors, and to everyone who contributed to and supported the live and silent auctions. Also, great appreciation goes to the Garden staff and volunteers for serving such vital roles in the Equinox Celebration. It was a joyful and successful evening in the Botanical Garden, with everyone working together for an important cause. Many thanks!

Congratulations to our Generations Award winners for 2019, the Garden’s founding Board of Directors from 1987: Kathleen Dittmer, Michael Freeman, and Michael Clark. This most prestigious award given by the Botanical Garden is presented annually at the Equinox Celebration event.  Our three award-winners truly embody the aspiration of the Generations Award through their vision and service to create a botanical garden for the citizens of Santa Fe. Inspired by their efforts, their dream has been embraced by many dedicated individuals who continue to carry the project forward to benefit all ages for generations to come. Many thanks for their dedication and service, and their continued passion for the Botanical Garden.

It is a rare opportunity to see into the future. Typically, such musings are an educated guess in the best of circumstances. However, the Santa Fe Botanical Garden has just embarked upon a master site planning process with Didier Design Studio and Lake | Flato Architects to determine a course forward for the institution over the next twenty years. In 2008, with a nascent Botanical Garden project on Museum Hill, the Board of Directors completed a master planning process with W. Gary Smith, landscape architect. At the time the Garden was still five years away from opening in 2013, but had assembled eleven acres to develop – a wonderful beginning, no doubt! From that plan, three beautifully designed garden concepts emerged.

The Botanical Garden has benefitted greatly from the construction and opening of two planned phases, plus six years of experience operating the new facilities on Museum Hill. Since opening in 2013, we have nearly doubled our land under lease, creating opportunities for an expanded vision of the Botanical Garden. Now, it is critical to focus our energy upon a long-term vision to develop the Botanical Garden at Museum Hill, including facilities and gardens, to its highest and best use. Also, the new planning process takes a holistic view regarding the strong programmatic connections between our two sites, the Botanical Garden at Museum Hill and the Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve.

It is anticipated this planning process will continue until the spring of 2020, and we look forward to dialog with our members and the community as ideas evolve and shape the plan. Running parallel with this effort, the next phase of construction commences in October on the Piñon-Juniper Woodland, resulting in a new entrance connecting it to the Ojos y Manos: Eyes and Hands Garden. We plan to offer preliminary tours later this year, with a grand opening of the Garden’s third phase in May of 2020. We are excited to move forward with the Garden’s continuing growth, and appreciate our members’ support to make it possible!

Now that the autumn has arrived, there is no more beautiful time to visit the Botanical Garden at Museum Hill and the Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve. The plant collections in our living museum are singing inspiring songs of color and texture for your enjoyment. Plus the birds, bees, and butterflies are lending their voices to the symphony. I hope you will treat yourself to the experience, and I look forward to seeing you very soon in the Garden!

Clayton Bass, President & CEO


Santa Fe Botanical Garden is a proud member of the American Public Gardens Association, American Alliance of Museums, American Horticultural Society, Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce, Sentinel Plant Network, and Museum Hill Partners.



Santa Fe Botanical Garden

Museum of Spanish Colonial Art

Museum of International Folk Art

Museum of New Mexico Foundation

International Folk Art Market/Santa Fe

The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian

Museum of Indian Arts & Culture

National Park Service

Santa Fe Community Educators Network

Press & Media Contact

For information and hi-res images, please contact Lindsay Taylor, Marketing & PR Director: lindsay@santafebotanicalgarden.org, (505) 471-9103 ext 7.