SANTA FE ― Life wasn’t easy for American Indians and Spanish settlers in northern New Mexico 400 years ago. And now thanks to the newest addition to the Santa Fe Botanical Garden (SFBG) on Museum Hill, modern day visitors can see for themselves what it took to survive and flourish here.
Ojos y Manos: Eyes and Hands, the garden’s latest expansive hands-on living exhibit, opens to the public Saturday, Oct. 22, with a free program of flamenco and mariachi performances, Native American dances, story-telling and other activities.
“We’re thrilled to present our community with this wonderful place where adults and kids can explore how plants played such an important part in the history of Santa Fe and our area,” SFBG CEO Clayton Bass said. “It’s the centerpiece for our educational programs and an opportunity for everyone to see and experience what it took to live off this often harsh land.”
The 2-acre addition to the botanical garden features native plants, tiered gardens that showcase what Native Americans and early settlers grew for food, medicine and other uses, three outdoor classrooms, a learning pavilion, and the 150-seat outdoor Gathering Place Amphitheater. Besides a variety of spaces to explore, visitors also can attend cooking classes and demonstrations at the Hornos Plaza featuring two traditional adobe ovens.
Saturday’s grand opening celebration kicks off at 11:30 a.m. with guest speakers and the official Ojos y Manos Living Landscape ribbon-cutting, followed by an assortment of family-friendly activities throughout the day. The garden opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. Admission is free all day, and free parking is available.
The $2.5 million addition was designed by nationally recognized landscape architect W. Gary Smith. Now encompassing four acres, the public Santa Fe Botanical Garden prides itself as a living museum and educational space that displays native plants and other flora that are well-adapted to area growing conditions, promotes conservation and wise use of water, highlights local artists, and provides a quiet oasis for enjoying the colors, smells and diversity of northern New Mexico landscapes and gardens.