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

November 2019

Dear Botanical Garden Members and Supporters,

There is so much to reflect upon and appreciate as we approach Thanksgiving. This year has been another chapter of growth and community engagement in the Botanical Garden’s unfolding story, and as we look ahead to the coming year, we are looking forward to myriad events and programs that will further our mission of celebrating, cultivating, and conserving our rich botanical history.

This season, we celebrate the relevance of color in our lives through our monthly Fall/Winter Lecture Series. This series kicked off last month with the inspiring lecture, “Eat Your Colors: A Brief History of the Color of Food.” I encourage you to attend November’s lecture titled “African Blues: My Life in Indigo.” Speaker Gasali Adeyemo is a master batik artist, and will share his life story with us. The lecture is held on Thursday, November 14, from 3-4:30 pm and I hope to see you there!

Last month, the Board of Directors and staff convened over a three-day period with landscape architects Didier Design Studio and Lake | Flato Architects to begin discussions on our new Master Plan. The Botanical Garden’s original Master Plan was created in 2008 by W. Gary Smith, landscape architect, when the Museum Hill site was just 11 acres and an operating garden was five years in the future. Now, we have nearly doubled that land, and are leasing 20.5 acres from the State of New Mexico. Such an increase in land called for a reevaluation and reimagining of what the Botanical Garden can be, and we will be delighted to share the results of these planning sessions when we wrap up the process in spring 2020.

Spring will be a busy time no doubt, as the grand opening for the 3.25-acre Piñon-Juniper Woodland will take place. If you have visited the Garden in the last few weeks you would have noticed construction has already begun with the removal of a section of the retaining wall in Ojos y Manos. This new space will become the entrance for the new garden, which will include walking trails and a new Children’s Discover Nature play area. More details on an exact opening date will be weather dependent, but we will keep you updated as the winter and spring unfold.

We are delighted to bring the seventh annual GLOW – Botanica this month! This year’s GLOW features a new partnership with artist Robert Drummond, who will be adding a video projection installation to our Meadow Garden. Our other featured artists are our friends Victoria Rabinowe, whose spirit poles will transform the Kearny’s Gap Bridge, and Christopher Short, whose LED agave sculptures take on a new form in Ojos y Manos. This year’s event will present many new artful lighting displays, nightly music in the Hendricksen Pavilion, and creative hands-on activities for the young ones in the Children’s Tent. Santa will be holding court and making his list of wishes through December 23. GLOW kicks off Thanksgiving weekend and continues through December 31 on weekends and select weekdays around the winter holidays. The event continues to grow as one of Santa Fe’s most treasured holiday family traditions, and children twelve and under are free! Visit the Garden’s website at https://santafebotanicalgarden.org/events/glow/ for dates and details, and a link to purchase tickets. And don’t miss the GLOW Preview Party on November 29! Be the first to experience the Botanical Garden re-imagined with thousands of lights and laser effects. It’s almost time to get your GLOW on!

And when considering our many reasons to be thankful, the Botanical Garden’s loyal members and volunteers are at the top of the list! Many thanks for your ongoing commitment and support!

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.