Ojos y Manos at Santa Fe Botanical Garden

September 21, 2022

Ojos y Manos: The first time I visited the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, the Garden of Eyes and Hands was unopened. So during my return visit last month, I was happy to explore it. (Here’s part 1 of my recent visit.)

Ojos y Manos, an educational and culinary garden with an amphitheater, is accessed via the picturesque red Kearney’s Gap Bridge, which was moved here from a farm in New Mexico.

It spans a scrubby arroyo in the Botanical Gardens.

Brassy flowers of IndiangrassSorghum bowed his head) illuminated against the green hills and blue sky.

According to the garden’s website, “Ojos y Mans: Ice and Hands Garden is a place to explore anthropology – the shared history of people and plants in northern New Mexico – through hands-on experience and observation…[It has] Three dedicated outdoor classrooms, two exploration spaces and a learning pavilion with a seating capacity of 100 people.

Twin towers of flat stone, probably balanced about 8 feet tall, mark the entrance to the garden. This is the view back towards the bridge.

A raised bed of grain surrounds the amphitheater, while berms with blue gram grass also surround the site.

The shaded amphitheater is inviting as a place to sit and take it all in, and I can only imagine how lovely it would be to watch a performance or attend a class here. A colorful mosaic behind the space features…

…corn, beans and squash, the “three sister” crops grown by Native Americans. this piece, Sister of Sun and MoonThe landscape was designed by architect W. Gary Smith, who also designed the overall design of the Santa Fe Botanical Garden — as well as the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s Family Garden.

details Sister of Sun and Moon

Chard, peppers, squash and tomatoes are growing in tiered beds — and datura. Datura has long been used as medicine, says the garden’s website. That particular datura, all parts of which are poisonous, is a bit too close to a vegetable for my comfort level.

Tomatoes are soaking in heat

An upright plant with burgundy leaves climbs the amphitheater steps, glistening in the sun.

Does anyone know what it is?

View from above

And from the side

Behind the amphitheater, a pine-clad gate allows access to the garden’s largely undeveloped pine-juniper woodland and its trails. I didn’t explore them this time.

Yellow in late summer

Narrow-leaved soapweed yucca (Yucca glauca) and its attractive seedpods

And I can’t resist – more Apache plume

Flower and seed heads of Apache plume

very beautiful

Light-attracting filament

Sown alongside vegetables in raised beds, pink cosmos add bright color.

One more look


Clusters of blue berries, aka elbow bushes (Forestiera pubescens), standing out against the bright-green foliage.

This beautiful shrub or small tree is native to both New Mexico and Texas, among other southwestern states.

Adjacent to the culinary garden, are two adobe-clay ovens oven Used to demonstrate traditional cooking methods.

Their clay domes echo the rounded hills in the distance.

Straw and mud cover

Apache plume looks great with terracotta stove and curved walls.

And the red bridge. what really no Will Apache go with Plum?

Next: Gallery art and more Santa Fe scenery. To look back at Part 1 of my visit to the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, click here.

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dig deep

Austin readers, get ideas for designing a welcoming and useful front yard tomorrow at Garden Spark. There are 3 open seats for Lori Kinler and Michael Kinler spoke at Garden Spark 9/22. I caught a glimpse of their presentation — inspirational photos of front yard designs! – and you won’t want to miss it. Here is the link to the ticket page: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/5538359

Learn about garden design from the experts here Garden Spark! I host private talks with inspiring designers, landscape architects, and writers several times a year in Austin. These are limited-attendance events that sell out quickly, so join the Garden Spark email list to be notified in advance. Just click on this link and ask to be added. You can find this year’s speaker lineup here.

All material © 2022 by Pam Penick for Excavation. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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