It’s that blooming time of year again in Santa Fe. The time of year when trees around the city begin to burst with pink and white blossoms and daffodils pop up creating a vibrant yellow border in front of the city’s iconic adobe walls. Soon the wisteria vines will be dripping with purple flowers and the mighty cottonwoods will be leafy green again. As the spring season descends on The City Different our thoughts turn to stunning outdoor spaces, lush gardens and scenic natural preserves.
If you think Santa Fe is all juniper and sagebrush, you are in for a wonderful surprise! For those interested in the flora and fauna and who enjoy spending time outdoors be sure to include a visit to one of these Santa Fe gardens in your next trip.
Santa Fe Botanical Gardens at Museum Hill
Sitting just below the buildings of Santa Fe’s Museum Hill area and spanning both sides of the Arroyo de los Pinos, the Santa Fe Botanical Garden presents plants that are both native to the region and those that have been historically cultivated by people living in the area for more than 400 years. The Santa Fe Botanical Garden is one of the newer experiences on Museum Hill. The first phase, the Orchard Gardens opened in July 2013 and the phase two portion, Ojos y Manos: Eyes and Hands, opened in 2016. In the peak growing season, April through October, the garden is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Ojos y Manos: Eyes and Hands section of the garden is a place to explore ethnobotany, the shared history of humans and plants in northern New Mexico, with large sections planted with seasonal crops traditionally cultivated by native people. The gardens also blend art into the landscape with special sculpture installations.
The Santa Fe Botanical Garden offers many special events and programs in the garden throughout the year. Get out and be active in the garden with Yoga and Tai Chi classes offered June – September. The Sunset in the Garden Concert Series will return every first Thursday of the month May – September and is a perfect setting for a picnic dinner.
Randall Davey Audubon Center
The Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary encompasses 135 acres of striking landscapes with hiking trails leading through various plant zones ranging from meadows to Ponderosa pine forests. Located just 3.5 miles and a 15 minute drive from historic downtown Santa Fe, the Center is bounded by thousands of acres of National Forest and Santa Fe River Watershed land. The Center and Sanctuary provides a peaceful refuge for plants, animals and visitors. From riverside riparian areas to pinon-juniper woodland, visitors can explore many different kinds of ecosystems and view the wildlife who call these areas home. Ranging from common to rare, approximately 190 species of birds can be found in or over the various ecosystems of this sanctuary. You definitely don’t want to forget your binoculars when you head for the Center.
The Randall Davey Audubon Center is open Monday – Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for visitors to hike the trails and explore the gardens closer to the buildings on the property. Every Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. the Center offers a free guided bird walk led by experienced volunteer birders. This walk is one of the best ways to get to know the local birds and witness them in their natural habitat.
Santa Fe Garden Club Tours
The Santa Fe Garden Club was founded in 1939 and is a member of the national Garden Club of America. Members of the club planted the sculpture garden at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and maintain gardens at the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts. Since the Santa Fe Garden Club’s early years they have invited visitors to tour member’s extraordinary homes and gardens in a popular annual event called, Behind Adobe Walls. In 2019, the Behind Adobe Walls tour will be held July 16 and July 23. Tour participants are transported by shuttle bus to four unique and seldom-seen private residences, with refreshments served at each garden on the tour. Tickets are $85 and often sell out for this popular tour.
The Garden Club also offers private tours for smaller groups of 10-29 people, called Pequeno Tours, which can be arranged any time mid-April – mid-October. On these tours your group will enjoy up to three homes and gardens on a three hour tour hosted by a Santa Fe Garden Club member. Each tour includes a narrated description of the residences visited as well as stories of historic Santa Fe.
The next time you are looking for things to do in Santa Fe, dig into one of these gardens and scenic natural areas. You are sure to find vibrant blooms tucked around the city’s adobe walls if you seek them out. Before you come out to smell the roses in Santa Fe, order your 2019 Santa Fe Travel Guide. To make the most of your visit use the offers found on our deals and specials page.