San Miguel de Allende
Guanajuato, México



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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

January, 2007 - Volume 2, No. 1

OUR MISSION: To protect and preserve our natural heritage while developing a Botanical Garden dedicated to Mexican flora and providing an oasis of peace and tranquility. Please tell your friends and prospective members/supporters how to access the newsletter and help broaden the base of support for the Botanical Garden.



Because of the funds received through various means (entrance, membership, workshops, guided tours, sales from plants and the tienda) as well as from private donations and institutional support, we were able to accomplish several improvement projects in the Garden. To give better service to our users, we constructed new bathrooms near the Reception area, added plazas and trails, as well as installing new bilingual explanatory and botanical signs. 

A significant accomplishment was the building of the Agave Garden and the area for Rescued Plants in the western part of the reserve.  The new office and library are already functioning as a research center.  In Parque Landeta work is continuing on the water treatment plant using constructed wetlands technology, work supported by the State of Guanajuato and local NGOs and it’s expected to be finished this Spring (see Aug/05 newsletter for more details about this project).

All the work in the Garden could not be accomplished without the constant effort and dedication of our terrific staff: Lorena, Martita, Martin, Carmen, Hermes, Rogelio, Regina, Félix, Serafín, Toño, Pedro y Pablo, under the supervision of Mario. We have them and our volunteers to thank for making El Charco what it is today and will be tomorrow.




URBAN EXPANSION RISK IN THE ECOLOGICAL BUFFER ZONE:  For several months, the Board of the Botanical Garden has been discussing with the local authorities concerning the use of this protected area for high density housing near the Conservatory of Mexican Plants.  The Project entitled “El Deseo”, similar to El Encanto, plans on building 119 houses and condo apartments on 5 hectares inside the buffer zone established in the Urban Development Plan of San Miguel.  Should this Project proceed as planned, it will have a negative and irreversible impact on the site and set a precedent for future development around El Charco.  The Board will continue the struggle with the developers and City but we could use the support of our members and members of the community as well.

aerial view
photo by Sandy Baum


The Botanical Garden has covered all fixed costs (salaries, taxes, etc.) through its own income. However, we still depend on outside contributions for special expenses for infrastructure and equipment and in this our members and supporters play a very important role through their donations.  This year we are planning on opening a juice bar/café next to the Reception area as a service to the visitors of the Garden.  As well, bathrooms in the Conservatory are projected.  A new botanical area, the Opuntias Garden, dedicated to the nopals native to El Charco as well as other regions of the semi-arid areas of Mexico will be a wonderful addition to our collection.  Work on restoring the wetlands area continues this year, starting with the operation of the water treatment project in Parque Landeta.  And two new publications are taking form – one dedicated to the native succulents and another, more ambitious, about the resident and migratory birds of El Charco del Ingenio.  And we keep on rolling….





Martin Smith, curator of plants, will give a lecture/demonstration on how to landscape with cacti – a very interesting option in a semi-arid region.  Thursday, January 18th at 9:30 a.m. at the reception area of the Garden.

Cost is 70 pesos for members and 100 for non-members.

Please reserve a space by contacting Naomi at nzerriffi@yahoo.com


The guided tours of the garden includes the conservatory, wetland and canyon. These tours are 2 hours long and begin at 9 am every Tuesday. For the next four months, your guide is Martin Smith, curator of plants. The tour is conducted in English but Martin can also explain in Spanish. The cost is 80 pesos for non-members and 50 pesos for members. It is a very informative and interesting tour and we encourage members and their visitors to take advantage of it and learn more about the garden and its programs. Plus you are able to visit the nursery which is not open to the public.

Please reserve a space by calling the reception at 154-8838  or e-mail charcodelingenio@gmail.com. We suggest that if you do not drive, you take a taxi at a cost of 30-40 pesos as it is an uphill walk.


A reminder that we are selling at the reception area of the Garden two interesting publications :  A Guide to the Wildflowers of San Miguel de Allende by Richard Cretcher (150 pesos) and the Twenty Trees of El Charco del Ingenio, edited by the Botanical Garden (60 pesos).  Let’s get to know our native plants!



We invite everyone to this open celebration that has been taking place for many years during the full moon cycle at the Four Winds Plaza in the Botanical Garden. This month it will take place on January 3rd under the leadership of Alicia Mayo.  It’s worth arriving a little early to admire the setting of the sun and the appearance of the moon over the mountains.  We recommend bringing a coat and a musical instrument if you wish. Admission is 30pesos, free for members.





... an Indian ritual sweat lodge that benefits circulation, relaxes muscles, stimulates respiration and helps with weight loss. It is open to males and females. Bring bathing suits and towels. It takes place in the ruins of an old hacienda inside the botanical garden on the other side of the presa.  Cost 250 pesos. Limited space so please call for more details and to reserve a space - 154 8838 or cell 014431033019 or at the Reception.

VOLUNTEERING / DONATIONS – You can make a difference

And you can make a difference with your donations. We appreciate your support!! Please contact Naomi at nzerriffi@yahoo.com

E-mail any comments or questions to the Editor at charcodelingenio@gmail.com

We send warm wishes to our dear friend and supporter, Sue Reid, to help her in the transition she faces – that all of us must face one day. Thank you, Sue, for your joy and generosity!!

A New Year’s Message

One time, the Dalai Lama was asked what was the most surprising thing about humanity and he answered:

Men who lose their health to make money,
and then lose their money to recover their health,
and who anxiously think about the future,
forgetting the present in such a way
that they finish by not living in the present nor the future;
they live as if they will never die
and die as if they have never lived.