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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

March 2010 - Volume V, No. 3

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

Botanical Illustration Classes - Monday-Friday March 8 - 12

Hike in the canyon of El Charco - Saturday, March 13


Workshop on Music of Northern India- Friday, March 19
- Saturday, March 20

Garden Lecture Series: Water Treatment Plant - Monday, March 22

Documentary: 13 Pueblos defending, Water, Air and Land - Friday, March 26


Temazcal - Saturday and Sunday, March 27th and 28th, 10:00 am

Full Moon Ceremony - Monday, March 29th

Bird Walks - First and third Wednesday of the month

Yoga at El Charco - Mondays and Wednesdays

Guided Tours - Tuesdays and Thursdays


MARCH 20TH, starting at 4:00p.m.

Each year at this time and as part of the Eco-Fair by Municipality, the Botanical Garden invites everyone to participate in the celebration of the sun with the following activities

  • Spring Equinox Ceremony led by Alicia Mayo in the Plaza of Four Winds starting at 4p.m.  | Free with entrance.

  • Concert in the canyon: this year’s program is music from northern India. 

This year we are very pleased to have the talented musician, Hollving Argaez, playing sitar and accompanied by two other musicians on tabla and tanpura offering music from northern India. Tickets will go on sale starting March 8th at the Charco reception and Border Crossing (Mesones/ Reloj). Members of El Charco: $80 pesos, general public: $100 pesos, Mexican students and teachers: $40 pesos and children under 10 are free.

Hollving Argaez received a scholarship from the Indian Council for Cultural Relations as well as by the National Foundation for Culture and Arts and is a disciple of Shubhendra Rao, in the tradition of Senia-Maihar Gharana (Master Baba Allauddin Khan and Pandit Ravi Shankar).  He began his tabla studies in Mexico in 1998. In 2001 he went to India to study sitar with Guru Pandit Shubhendra Rao, one of the best sitarists of his generation.  From 2001-2005, Hollving was sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). 


The National Foundation for Culture and Arts sponsored his studies of the oral tradition called Guru-Shishya Parampara from 2005-2008.

Hollving is one of the rare foreigners and only Mexican dedicated to the classical music of India to have played sitar in India and have been on their national TV (NDTV), and heard in more than 100 countries via the All Indian Radio station.


“Appreciation, theory and practice of classical music of northern India”

with Hollving Argaez,
Friday, March 19th
from 2 – 6 pm

$150 pesos | Reservations 154.47.15 or

For music students and interested public. Those who have their own instruments will practice introductory exercises in this traditional music. 

Bring whatever instrument you have: violin, cello, guitar, flute, etc.  If you do not have an instrument, you will be able to sing to this melodious music.




DOCUMENTARY: 13 Pueblos defending, Water, Air and Land

Friday  March 26th | Bóveda | 6 pm | $40 pesos, members free | English subtitles

In honor of World Water Day which is celebrated on March 22, El Charco del Ingenio will show the documentary film ‘13 pueblos en defensa del aire, el agua y la tierra’ (13 pueblos defending their air, water and land). Atahualpa Caldera, who was part of the production team, will give a talk after the screening.

In the future, wars will be fought over water. In the Mexican state of Morelos, this war has already begun. 13 Pueblos Defending Water, Air and Land tells the story of the struggle of Mexican indigenous people to preserve their natural resources and their cultural identity. This documentary is a profound reflection on Mexico´s immediate future, on the eve of the centenary of its Revolution.

  13 puebos en defensa

Dirección: Francesco Taboada Tabone | Producción: Francesco Taboada Tabone, Fernanda Robinson, Atahualpa Caldera | 2008 | 64 min | Documentary




The first Expo of Reptiles last September was so popular, we have organized another exhibit of the representative species of our region. These specimens come from the Herpetarium of the Natural Sciences Faculty of the University of Queretaro.  There will be turtles, crocodiles, seven species of rattlesnakes, iguanas, and many more.  Special exotic species will be brought in and there will be presentations and four talks on how to handle snakes (dates to be defined).

Entrance: $50 pesos, Kids: $20 pesos



Garden Lecture Series: The Water Treatment Plant

March 22, 10:00a.m.
Led by César Arias, President and Founder of the Botanical Garden
and Mario Hernández, Director of the Botanical Garden.

March 22 has been designated this year as the International Day of Water and for this reason our talk this month will take place in Parque Landeta at the new water treatment plant which is an example of low tech and low cost solutions to cleaning water. We will meet at El Charco’s reception and leave there shortly before 10 a.m. to go together to Parque Landeta. We recommend you bring a hat and water and wear closed toe shoes.

$70 pesos for members | $100 pesos for general public

water treatment plant

Botanical Illustration Classes

There are still a few places left for Succulents from March 8 -12th.  The next series of classes will be in July. If you would like information on the upcoming classes or to register for the Succulents class in March, please email



Hikes in the canyon of El Charco
Saturday, March 13th |  9:00 a.m., meet at the parking lot of the Aurora Factory

The canyon of El Charco del Ingenio has always been a place of magic and mysticism, and a source of old, mysterious legends.  Its corners hide secrets of the past, guarded by nature.  The Obraje river flows through it and the pool and spring from which the Garden gets its name is housed there. To uncover its beauty and mystery, the Botanical Garden will offer, starting this month, special hikes in the canyon.  This 3 hour hike will start at the Fabrica Aurora and twine through steep crags and cliffs to the pool of El Chan at which point the group will climb up and continue on to the Café of the Garden for a delicious and well deserved lunch. 

  el charco

Recommended for people with an excellent fitness level. This is a rigorous hike.

Cost is $100 pesos for members and $120 pesos general public.
Reservations a must at or 154.47.15



March 15 |  Plaza of 4 Winds |  4 – 6 pm | members free, $40 pesos general public

danzas de paz  

Join the Children´s Global Peace Project as together we perform Ancient Circle Dances of many spiritual traditions using sacred language and movement.  We invite you to gift your focus and your energy to empower the consciousness for world peace.  First we find peace in our own hearts then we connect with others and finally we hold the frequency for the entire planet.  All ages are welcome, no experience necessary. 

For more info on this group:



AVES Y AGAVES Fundraiser

On February 14th, we had a wonderful event with the Audubon Society in which 300 people enjoyed an auction of various works of art by some of the best artists in town. We wish to thank all our sponsors, artists, volunteers and our guests, all of whom made this annual fundraiser a huge success.

aves y agaves




We are very pleased to announce that work has begun on this project thanks to the support of Save the Laja.  In March we will start building the pond as well as the Observatory. We hope that by the end of this year to have a new educational and fun space for youth and children and a learning tool for the appreciation of our natural and cultural history of the region.

interactive garden




We now have a new area in which to appreciate the natural richness of our region, thanks to the generosity of Mr. George Michaelson.  It is located near the Conservatory and Agave Garden and is called the Opuntia Garden, or in common terms, the nopal garden.

nopal garden



Martita García  

This month we present
Martita García Granados

Martita, as she is known at the Garden, is one of our jewels upon whom we can always depend.  Having been mentored by Martin Smith, Martita is knowledgeable about the conservation and care of native Mexican plants.  She is in charge of our propagation area and the Conservatory.  Martita’s talent and ability with the plants has not only been recognized here but also in other places such as the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona where she was invited last April.  Recently she gave a workshop to biology students at the National Polytechnical Institute in Irapuato.  We are all very grateful to Martita for her important work in looking after the second largest collection of cacti in Mexico.




Have you tried the apple pie at our Café? It’s made on site and is delicious!!  What could be better after an enjoyable visit to the Garden, to finish it with something tasty.

More beautiful bird feeders from PAR-A-SOL GARDENS are now available.  El Charco is the exclusive outlet in San Miguel for these beautiful feeders, featured in Better Homes & Garden, The New York Times, Family Circle and more. They are works of art as well as being functional.

  apple pie


Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am - 12:00 pm approx.

A hat, water and good walking shoes are recommended. $50 pesos for members and $80 pesos for non-members. Reservations are not necessary. Private tours are also available for $150 pesos per person (minimum 5 persons).

guided tours


Bird Walks
March 3 and 17th, starting at 9:00a.m.

The northward Spring migration is in full swing. The numbers of our wintering sparrows, waterfowl and waders are dwindling as they start their journeys to their breeding grounds. Look for birds migrating through, such as Black and White Warblers. A Common Yellowthroat was obseved on one of the islands in the Charco presa--some populations winter in Mexico and head up to the Pacific Northwest to breed. Among resident birds, the pale first-winter Chipping Sparrows have molted into their russet-capped breeding plumage.

The walks are for birders of all levels. They begin at 9:00 a.m. and last about 2 1/2 hours. No reservations needed, and feel free to leave the walk at any time.  Please bring binoculars, wear comfortable walking shoes and a hat, and bring water. Signe will meet you after you pass through the Reception area of the Botanical Garden.

Cost: $60 pesos for members of either El Charco or Audubon, $100 pesos for non-members of either organization (includes El Charco entrance fee).



Master Gardener Program Proposed

A planning session was held to discuss the possibility of offering a certificate level program of about 50 hours. Individual classes would be available as well. Suggested topics to be covered in the classes are:

    • Growing plants appropriate for this climate – managing invasive species
    • Water management and xeriscaping
    • Soil, fertilizer, watering, composting, mulching, root management
    • Managing a garden: Pests and diseases, “good bugs – bad bugs”, pruning
    • Urban gardening – growing vegetables, container gardens
    • Landscaping and garden design – water gardens

We would like to gauge the level of interest so please email if you think this is something you would be interested in attending. If you are interested in being a lecturer or would like to be involved in the planning sessions, please let me know as well.



Yoga “Desde el corazón” (from the Heart)in el  Charco del Ingenio
Mon & Wed 10 am - 11:15 am

Cost: $100 pesos per class |  Monthly package (8 classes)  $680 pesos
For more information or to reserve a space, please call: 154.4715
Need to bring yoga mat and blanket


Enjoy a wonderful yoga experience in a perfect setting.  Those who are familiar with this ecological site know that the experience starts at the entrance, its beauty immediately filling our senses.  The harmony, silence, peace, clean air, plants and animals make this place a fountain of inspiration in which to practice yoga in San Miguel.  El Charco del Ingenio offers a perfect mix that invites our senses to open up to the natural beauty around us and within us.

Ximena Velasco has practised yoga for 11 years and for the last 10 years has shared her passion for this philosphy-discipline through her classes.  She has studied in various countries such as France; Italy, India, Nepal, Australia, Mexico and the US among others.  She has explored various yoga techniques such as Iyengar, Ashtanga, Anusara, y Vinyasa.  Her passion to understand the human body has led her to investigate other techniques of movement, meditation and alternative medicine to bring the necessary tools that her students need. Ximena teaches in several places in San Miguel.

Yoga, as other ancient philosophy-disciplines in the world, is inspired by nature, learning to observe, hear, feel and imitate.  This work allows us to observe, hear and feel ourselves, connecting us to our inner nature. If you are a lover of nature and yoga, this is a worthwhile experience whether you are a resident or visitor.



Saturday, March 27th at 6 pm and and Sunday March 28th, 10:00 am

This relaxing steam bath is a ritual of healing and purification and is available every month for both men and women. Bring bathing suits and towels. It takes place in the ruins of an old hacienda, under the moonlight, across the dam from El Charco’s reception area.

The mixture of heat, humidity and scented plants and herbs is a purifying experience for mind and spirit. Its benefits are many: it activates blood circulation, increases natural body defenses, eliminates odors, relaxes muscles, helps keep the nervous system in good shape, stimulates breathing and is excellent for weight loss.

$250 pesos, space is limited so please call for reservations or information 154.88.38 and
154 47.15 or in El Charco’s main office.




Full Moon Ceremony
Monday, March 29th, 7p.m., 30 pesos general public, members free

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.

We celebrate the Full Moon Ceremony to come back into balance with nature on earth. Come and enthusiastically participate and dedicate your intention and energies at the Plaza of the Four Winds.  Bonfire, incense, chanting, drumming included.  Bring flutes, cymbals, a drum or any other instrument if you want. 

  full moon ceremony

It’s worth arriving a little early to admire the setting of the sun and the appearance of the moon over the mountains. You may want to bring a coat for cool evenings.  Admission is $30 pesos, free for members. Children welcome. Any questions, call Alicia Mayo at 152 .0376.


“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” 
Ralph Waldo Emerson




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