Santa Fe Garden Club – Est. 1939
In the Fall of 2022, The Santa Fe Garden Club restored the central courtyard of this historic garden in partnership with the Santa Fe Parks Department. Money raised from our Behind Adobe Walls Home & Garden Tours was used to fund the project.
The Santa Fe Garden Club has had a long history of involvement with the park, starting with its creation in 1966, when Amelia White donated land to the City of Santa Fe for the purpose of a public park. The property is located on the Old Santa Fe Trail. Amelia White was a Member-At-Large of the Garden Club of America and a proponent of conservation.
In 2022, the Garden Club of America tasked member clubs across the country to find a local park in need of some refurbishing as a way to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Law Olmstead, known as the “Father of Landscape Architecture”. In Santa Fe, we created a pollinator friendly perennial garden with bird habitat plantings around the perimeter of the central courtyard.
Amelia White with one of her beloved dogs.
The redesigned garden.
Map of the courtyard planters.
The New Mexico Museum of Art Courtyard Garden has been a pet project of the Club since 1951, when the attentions of the club turned from Plaza beautification to the Museum Patio; the SFGC decided “to replace the somewhat futile plaza project….with focus toward an ideal public spot for the garden club to develop.”
Club members took up the New Mexico Museum of Art garden in earnest in the 1990’s, nurturing the courtyard garden by providing needed funds for plantings and weekly woman-power to maintain those plantings.
In June 2017, with a $25,000 contribution from the Club, the garden underwent an extensive renovation that included installation of an operable irrigation system as the old sprinkler was dripping into the archives of the museum. The entire garden was removed, plants shuttled to plant sitters, and replaced after structural repairs were made.
Every Monday, throughout the growing season, members of the Club tend the garden. Each member is asked to work a minimum of two 3-hour shifts in the garden on Monday mornings while the museum is closed to the public. In the winter, when the garden is put to bed, ten 8-foot ristras are hung from the portals and the pots are adorned with greenery.
The courtyard garden offers quiet solitude from Santa Fe’s hectic days and a place of cool contemplation for tourists and locals during the hot summer months.
Plants indigenous to New Mexico are featured as well as other hardy perennials and small evergreens. The lawn and enlarged walkway that borders the garden ensures the space continues to be the center of many Museum events.
The Courtyard Garden, so monikered by one of our members, became the location of the annual Behind Adobe Walls Cocktail Party, hosted in appreciation of our many supporters and hard working members.
The Santa Fe Garden Club members’ efforts are further acknowledged in a piece written for the Museum in El Palacio. Learn More
At its inception in 1987, members of the Santa Fe Garden Club played important roles individually in financially supporting and serving in leadership positions for the Botanical Garden, as well as contributing $25,000 by the Club to fund the Orchard Garden.
In 2018 the SFGC was awarded the GCA’s Founders Fund Award for the “Ojos y Manos” (hands and eyes) learning garden. In addition to the $10,000 award, the SFGC made an additional Club contribution of $20,000. Over the years, members of the SFGC have contributed over $450,000 to the Botanical Garden.
Located on Museum Hill, it is open 9AM to 5 PM every day except Tuesdays. Learn More
The spring of 1998 was the start of the Santa Fe Garden Club’s active support for the purchase of the Baca Ranch by the Federal Government. The 95,000 acre ranch was to be sold and the Club was encouraged to protect the land and prevent commercial development.
SFGC members met with noted environmentalist Courtney White, founder of the Quivera Coalition, to formulate a plan. The Santa Fe Garden Club felt this pristine property should be preserved for future generations.
In a year long effort enlisting involvement of the National GCA and member GCA clubs through phone calls, letters, and personal visits to state legislators a commitment for funding was secured to begin the purchase of the property. In 2000, at a National Affairs and Legislation Conference held in Washington, D.C., a SFGC member addressed the 400 garden club attendees from around the country about the plight of the then 95,000 acre Baca Ranch located in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico.
Informed, 400 club members then spoke with their respective congressional representatives and a ground swell of interest in preserving the 95,000 acre Spanish land grant property was born. Disappointingly the property was withdrawn from sale by the family 9 months later. Not immediately, but subsequently, with strong support from New Mexico’s legislators Tom Udall, Jeff Bingaman, and Pete Domenici, the Federal government approved acquisition of the pristine property for public use and enjoyment.
The Baca Ranch is now publicly accessible and known as the Valles Caldera National Preserve. The work of the Santa Fe Garden Club was acknowledged in the April 2002 Dallas Daily News in the story about the 89th Annual GCA meeting held in that city.
As an example of the impact the Garden Club of America has in preserving our environment and natural resources, Joan Murphy, NAL Co-Chair was quoted saying, “members of the Santa Fe Garden Club took an interest a few years ago in the historic Baca Ranch in New Mexico, which was in danger of being bought by developers. They told members across the country to call their congressman, and the congressman called one of the senators from New Mexico, so suddenly he was getting this deluge of calls from all across the country.” Learn More