San Miguel de Allende
Guanajuato, México



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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

February, 2007 - Volume 2, No. 2

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.


For this year we have a number of programs and activities planned. We hope to offer some new services to our visiters such as a juice bar near the Reception area and new bathrooms in the Conservatory. We are building new botanical areas and rebuilding some trails and plazas.  The constructed artificial wetland in Parque Landeta, financed by the State of Guanajuato is expected to start functioning this Spring. An additional area, the responsibility of the Botanical Garden, will provide more ample and cleaner water for wildlife habitat. The plan is to build a network of shallow canals and plant trees and shrubs over an area of two hectares for which we will need additional funds. We will also be continuing our successful environmental education program as well as publishing a new book on succulents.

Against our wishes, this year it will be necessary to dedicate effort and resources to the legal defense of the ecological buffer zone around the nature reserve of El Charco and Parque Landeta.

Map - Ecological Protection Zone

This action is due to the the growing activity of developers who exercise influence over municipal officials to change zoning rules and acquire permits, generally violating existing rules and laws. Obviously, we prefer to use our funds and our efforts to take care of and develop the Botanical Garden. However, the urban development pressure is a serious menace to our conservation project and to the habitat of our local wildlife, including such animals as fox, and the elusive wildcat. For more information on how to support our activities at El Charco please contact: ariascanal@gmail.com.



Cristina Orci will give a one hour presentation on local medicinal plants on February 9th at 9:30 a.m. at the reception area of the Garden. Cristina is a clinical herbalist who learned from old women in Chiapas, Mexico City, Chihuahua, Arizona and Los Angeles. Her formal studies include Clinical Herbalist training at the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine in Bisbee, Arizona, (with a focus on desert plants), an Ayurvedic Studies certificate at the Ayurveda Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a one year training on special topics in clinical herbalism with Amanda McQuade Crawford in California. Cost is 70 pesos for members and 100 for non-members. Please reserve a space by contacting Naomi at nzerriffi@yahoo.com.


As in the past, the Botanical Garden will participate in this popular ornamental plant fair which has always been held in the past in Parque Juarez – but which this year will be at the parking lot of El Cardo due to road construction around the park. We will have an information table about our conservation project. It’s an ideal time and place to acquire or renew membership as well as giving donations for the programs and projects of the Garden. Anyone wishing to spend two hours at our table during the fair (Feb. 2-9), please contact Naomi: 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 February, 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 February 2nd 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.


February 3rd and 4th at 11:00 a.m.



Temascal is 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 01-443-103-3019 or at the reception area of the garden


Saturday, March 3rd there will be a total eclipse of the moon. Even though the intial and total phases of the eclipse will not be visible in San Miguel, we will be able to observe the final phase as the full moon rises (a little after 6:45p.m.).  The moon will rise over the horizon partially in the eclipse and will gradually recuperate its full illumination over  the following 30 minutes.  As with past astronomical events, the Botanical Garden will remain open late to observe this eclipse.  At the end, we will meet at the Four Winds Plaza around a fire to have hot punch and for the youngsters we have prepared an interesting educational show about the eclipse.  More information will be forthcoming in the local media and the March Newsletter.

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

A fond farewell to Martin Smith, our magnificent curator of plants, who will be returning to his native and cloudy England for several months, after another productive season of work at El Charco. See you soon, Martin!!