Santa Fe Botanical Garden
For more than 20 years and with the critical support of its 300 active volunteers the Santa Fe Botanical Garden (SFBG) has been a part of the community providing places of reflection, wonder and education for young and old alike. Each location tells the story of unique aspects of Northern New Mexico geology, botany and cultural history. The creation of the Santa Fe Botanical Garden at Museum Hill ushers in a new era of educational opportunities and community services offered by the Botanical Garden.
Santa Fe Botanical Garden
The Santa Fe Botanical Garden will continue to expand in two additional phases. Ojos y Manos: Hands and Eyes is set to open in October 2016. The Courtyard Gardens will be the final phase of development, featuring several small courtyards as commonly seen in Santa Fe residential gardens. The Santa Fe Botanical Garden (admission charged) is still small at just under two acres, but three years have allowed the plants to grow, providing a colorful and mature-looking space.
Santa Fe Botanical Garden
Starting at from the area near the Plaza in Santa Fe, you will drive south on Old Santa Fe Trail. The road forks and take the left fork for Old Santa Fe Trail (the right fork is Old Pecos Trail). You will see the Liza Williams Gallery (806 Old Santa Fe Trail) on your right as you proceed. After the fork, continue a 0.9 mile as the road curves left toward Museum Hill. At the entrance to Museum Hill, turn on the right onto Camino Lejo and proceed a 0.3 mile. Turn right into the gravel overflow parking lot and park to the left near the entrance gateway of the Garden. Handicap parking is available. Alternatively, from Old Pecos Trail heading north (toward the Plaza), at the stoplight intersection with Camino Lejo turn right. The road curves several times and at the four way stop at Camino Corrales continue straight. Go past the Wheelwright Museum entrance (to the right) and continue until you see our large entrance sign on your left. Turn left into the gravel overflow parking lot and the Garden gateway entrance is on the left, at the south end of the lot. Handicap parking is available.
The Arroyo Trails, covering eight acres, is the largest single area of the Santa Fe Botanical Garden at Museum Hill. Demonstrating the effectiveness of the latest arroyo restoration techniques the Arroyo Trails provides a place to enjoy the natural beauty of the site and experience the increasing diversity of plants and wildlife as the arroyo heals itself over time. Hiking trails along the arroyo are open to the public between Old Pecos Trail and the Botanical Garden.
The Botanical Garden’s upcoming lecture series, which extends through next spring, is devoted to the theme of the new garden area, called both an ethnobotanical garden and a learning landscape. Or, as the opening weekend’s speaker refers to botanical gardens, “cathedrals of chlorophyll,” according to Bass.
The typical visitor to Santa Fe will probably be seeking “The New Mexico Experience” – the rich Native American and Spanish history going back several hundred years, a vibrant art scene, imaginative cuisine, and spectacular southwestern scenery. A botanical garden might not be the first place to come to mind in this semi-arid landscape. Except, that is, for the efforts of a committed group of Santa Fe residents.
The Santa Fe Botanical Garden at Museum Hill, designed by landscape architect W. Gary Smith, integrates the natural and the man-made, a location chosen for its natural beauty and environmental interest has been transformed by excellent garden design, horticultural practice, and architecture.
Since opening in 2013, the Santa Fe Botanical Garden has featured several sculpture installations. Bill Barrett’s boldly abstract sculptures are appearing through May 14, 2017, a dramatic foil to the plants and southwestern landscape.
This is a very pretty Botanical garden in the Museum Hill area. Not very big, and much less flashy than many other city gardens, but gives a real feel for indigenous landscaping in Santa Fe. It's really restful, and easy to get to.
Reviewed 1 week ago A Place to RestThis is a very pretty Botanical garden in the Museum Hill area. Not very big, and much less flashy than many other city gardens, but gives a real feel for indigenous landscaping in Santa Fe. It's really restful, and easy to get to.Thank Danae F
A walk through the first phase of the Santa Fe Botanical Garden on Museum Hill 10 days before its grand opening was a journey of small revelations that sprang from a larger, conceptual design. Spear-leafed yucca on short, stout trunks stands guard just past the entry. A Chinese golden rain tree is in blossom among plugs of native grass. Young fruit trees rise in perfect order; various types of lavender are set out here and there. There are tea roses, cacti, and a Gambel oak, all framed in the surrounding juniper and pine. At one point, a rabbit scampers across the trail, and a covey of quail is spotted. Benches wait under welcoming ramadas. Mountains stretch off to the north and east, the valley opens up to the west. You feel as if you’ve stepped from one world into another, though you never lose sight of the world you came from. Somehow, everything fits…
Although you could visit any garden and just enjoy it in the here and now, it helps to know how much time and effort go into a garden’s creation. Unless some great benefactor steps forth and declares, “Here’s the money, here’s the land, and here’s a plan!”, establishing a public garden is an arduous time-consuming process. (This “Great Benefactor” model could indeed still work for a private garden, as it has in the past for such gardens as Biltmore, Winterthur or Longwood.)
And about those skies: given its arid climate, Santa Fe has a lot of clear weather. If you visit in early summer—June and the first part of July—the cloudless skies can be unrelenting. Owing to the 7,200-feet in elevation, the actual temperatures aren’t that high—mid-to high eighties—and the humidity relatively low, but standing in the midday sun can be uncomfortable. By mid-July the monsoon typically arrives, bringing some rain and definitely more clouds. Don’t let the term monsoon worry you; it’s not like those of southeast Asia. In Santa Fe it just means occasional afternoon thunderstorms produced by towering puffy white clouds, lending drama and extra dimension to the landscape. By mid-September, the monsoon tapers off and temperatures start to cool down to the mid-seventies.
For getting out in the wilds of northern New Mexico, going to Bandelier National Monument is a must with its cliff dwellings and pueblo ruins. Also nearby, Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument gets its name from bizarre tent-shaped rock formations that look like they were carved by human hands. Farther to the northwest of Santa Fe is the Valles Caldera, a thirteen-mile wide bowl-shaped depression left when a volcano collapsed inward on itself. If you want to cool off, Ski Santa Fe is only sixteen miles from downtown. You can drive to 10,000 feet and hike in the woods up to nearly 12,000 feet. In September the lift operates on weekends to give you an easy view of the aspens turning gold.
In front of the main entrance is our Temporary Visitors Center and Garden Shop which is open year-round during regular Garden hours. Come see us flourish. Visit the Garden Shop to purchase birthday, anniversary and graduation gifts (and pick up something for yourself!). See our many unique and sustainable products, books, SFBG shirts and caps, jewelry and more.
So, back to our group of Santa Feans. In 1987, they decided that their city needed a public garden. In 1993 they established the Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve a few miles south of the city (no admission charged). Through the efforts of many volunteers, invasive species were removed, and the preserve is now home to plant and bird species that thrive around its spring-fed pond. It’s open to the public on weekends from May through October.
Forging ahead, the Garden leadership acquired eleven acres on Museum Hill in 2006. Later, three more acres were added to the property. Nationally recognized landscape architect W. Gary Smith was retained to come up with a plan, ultimately approved by the City in 2011. And in 2013, Phase I, the Orchard Garden, opened to the public.
The visitor first goes past the Meadow Garden, featuring grasses and flowers that mimic the natural areas seen on the New Mexico mesas. Next comes a much more formal garden. This small rectangular space is home to the apple and pear trees commonly seen in the state’s orchards, flanked by the Rose and Lavender Walk on one side and by the Perennial Border on the other. The blue-purple of the lavenders is a perfect complement to the pink of the roses. If you turn around and look back the way you came, you’ll see the sage green foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountains under the deep blue New Mexico skies, perhaps with a few puffy cumulus clouds floating above.