Above: Cross the Red Bridge to explore phase two of the Santa Fe
Botanical Garden's development.
Just three years after planting its first seedlings and saplings, the Santa Fe Botanical Garden has grown into an impressive landscape that attracts 35,000 visitors a year. Like hummingbirds, they flit from rock cherry shrubs to native oaks, peach trees, veronica blossoms, and sun-worshipping cacti—so many thriving plants that it seems far larger than its 2.5 acres would suggest.
On October 22, that expanse grows twice as large with the grand opening of phase two, a sprawling learning garden with an amphitheater, horno kitchen, and three outdoor classroom spaces. Daylong activities will carry visitors across the historic Red Bridge into territory outfitted for ethnobotany—the science of how people interact with plants as food, medicine, tools, and dyes. “This is a serious game changer,” says Clayton Bass, the garden’s chief executive officer. “It broadens our message about the importance of eating well and setting things up so that good food is affordable.”
Amphitheater seats are interspersed with desert-hardy crops, including strains of pueblo corn, squash, and beans. Boulder spills outline a New Mexico geology lesson. Spiny ocotillo plants mark the cardinal points.
If you can’t wait for phase two’s debut, bring a picnic supper and enjoy live music at the October 6 After Hours in the Garden event, starting at 5 p.m. BYOB if you’re so inclined, Bass says. “We’ll provide the sunset.” On October 29, admission is free to all New Mexicans and students with ID. (505) 471-9103; santafebotanicalgarden.org