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El Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Garden Newsletter

March 2011 - Volume VI, No. 03

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.

Volunteer Tree Tending Day in the Garden - Saturday, March 12

Spring Equinox Special 20th Anniversary Concert - Sunday, March 20

Full Moon Ceremony - Saturday, March 19

Traditional Temazcal - Saturday and Sunday, March 26 and 27

Guided Tours - Tuesdays and Thursdays

Bird Watching tours - first and third Wednesday of the month



concierto equinoccio

Sunday, March 20th
Canyon of El Charco del Ingenio

Admission: $100 pesos; Members of the Garden: $80 pesos

This is a special year for El Charco which is celebrating its 20th anniversary and we are presenting, in collaboration with the well known Festival of Baroque Music, a very special concert for the Spring Equinox with a 90-member symphonic orchestra. As always the concert take place right before sundown in the canyon of El Charco with its natural acoustics and will be specially prepared for the Symphonic Youth Orchestra from the Conservatory of Celaya as well as for the brass quintet, M-5 (Quinteto de Metales).

The concert will consist of two extraordinary works. The first is the Suite Pulcinella by Igor Stravinsky, a baroque piece with a vanguard 20th century interpretation, and the second is the Music for the Royal Fireworks by G.F. Haendel, which was expressly written to be performed outdoors, all followed by a small display of fireworks to welcome Spring.

Before the concert, there will be other commemorative activities.
Afternoon program

  • 12:30 pm. – Inauguration of the Solar Observatory in the Interactive Garden
  • 2:00 pm – Buffet lunch at the Boveda ($150 pesos/person)
  • 4:00 pm – Equinox ceremony at the Plaza of Four Winds
  • 5:30 pm – Symphonic Concert in the Canyon

Tickets for the concert may be purchased at the botanical garden’s Visitor’s Center, El Tecolote, Border Crossings, La Conexión and the Baroque Music Festival office.
For more information: 154-4715.

Thanks tto the support of the Municipal Traffic Department there will be a free and continuous shuttle bus from 12 to 5 pm from Plaza Real del Conde to the Botanical Garden entrance. After the concert there will be 3 buses for transportation back to Plaza Real del Conde.

Webpage of the Festival de Música Barroca

We thank the Secretary of Tourism of the State for their support in this celebration.

concierto equinoccio



Volunteer Tree Tending Day in the Garden
March 12th, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

We invite our members and friends to join us in tending to our trees and plants that have become covered with muerdago (a parasite from the mistletoe family) and paixtle (an epiphyte which becomes invasive to trees).

Either come personally or “lend” us your gardener as part of this cleaning brigade under the guidance of the Charco staff. In the past, these tree-tending days have been very effective as a community effort to help our trees to thrive. We hope to make this day even better. We ask everyone to bring a hat, garden shears and saw, and maybe a small ladder if possible (sunglasses and gloves are also good).  At the end of the day, we offer our helpers some refreshments and recognition. 

limpieza de arboles




In this International Year of Trees and Forests, we are featuring trees which are notable for their size, beauty or history and we dedicate this issue of the newsletter to a large tree growing right in the heart of San Miguel.  It is a large, leafy laurel tree located in the garden of Posada Corazon on Aldama street. The tree is over a hundred years old with enormous branches that frame the view of the city.

Laurel trees (Ficus microcarpa) are common in the warm and temperate zones of Mexico for centuries, when they were brought by Europeans from the Far East, and are appreciated throughout the country. For years they have provided shade and adorn the Jardin and other plazas, courtyards and streets of San Miguel, almost always pruned and cut in a French style that has survived into the new millennium. 

But some have grown free, spreading out their luxurious branches in every direction and reaching magnificent heights…like the laurel of Aldama.  This enormous tree is part of a corazon de manzana (manzana here means block), a name given to the areas behind traditional San Miguel homes dedicated to a family’s fruit and vegetable garden.  These corazones de manzana used to be common in the city, green, tree-filled areas that for a long time beautified the original urban landscape of San Miguel.  Unfortunately, there are very few left and many historical gardens have disappeared such as the large and ancient garden of Instituto Allende, where many trees were cut down in recent years to open space for a massive construction.

laurel de la india




This past January 29th, a municipal ordinance was promulgated in the Official Newspaper of the State for the purpose of protecting and preserving an area of 380 hectares within and around El Charco del Ingenio. These new regulations reinforce the Declaration of the Ecological Preservation Zone (ZPE for its initials in Spanish) established in 2006, and regulate activities within the nuclear area of the ZPE as well as in the buffer zone. The nuclear area of the ZPE, which is dedicated to conservation, education and research, is made up of the Botanical Garden, the UNAM Center, Parque Landeta and a part of the new Bicentennial Park. In the buffer zone only low density, unobtrusive housing is allowed.

The new regulations establish the creation of an Advisory Council for the ZPE which will guide the management of the area under the auspices of the municipal Department of Ecology. The Council will consist of representatives from the municipality, the federal government, the Botanical Garden, UNAM, property owners in the buffer zone, local environmental NGOs and the scientific academic sector.

We believe that these new regulations as well as the creation of the ZPE Council (which will be selected and start working soon) are a great step forward for the preservation of an area of indisputable environmental, historical and landscape value for San Miguel de Allende.  We will keep you informed…

Zona de Preservación Ecológica




We thank Joseph Smith, local grower and old friend of the Botanical Garden, for his donation of two outstanding specimens of Sotol (Dasylirion miquihuanesis), a nolinaceae from the desert of Chihuahua, already planted on the lookout of our Interactive Garden. 

joseph smith




Authors:  Héctor G. Núñez Palenius, Miriam Isidrón Pérez, Bibiana M. Granados, Ma. Magdalena Elizarraraz Vega, Mario Mendoza García, Ma. Martina Granados, Eduardo F. Ardisana, Neftalí Ochoa Alejo, Lisset Herrera Isidrón

El Charco del Ingenio, Agrarian University of Havana and Mexican scientific institutions, the Guanajuto campus of the Instituto Politécnico Nacional and the Center for Research and Advanced Studies in Irapuato have been collaborating for the past five years to develop an efficient method of in vitro cultivation, though macro- and micro-propagation, of the endangered genotype Aztekium hintonii.

Traditionally, cacti are propagated with seeds, cuttings or grafts. However, with species such as Aztekium hintonii, which have a slow rate of growth, sparse production of viable seeds and low rate of germination, these procedures are usually not successful. Aztekium hintonii is an endemic Mexican plant that is in danger of extinction due to the extraction and removal of specimens for sale to cactus collectors all over the world, and the fact that its natural habitat has been severely damaged beyond the possibility of natural recovery.

One way to avoid the extinction of this and other species is to propagate them in vitro, which produces hardier plants. Many cacti that have been cultivated in vitro have much higher rates of growth than plants cultivated in the traditional manner, reaching in a few months the size that would require years under normal conditions.

For this multi- and interdisciplinary project, seeds were provided by the Charco del Ingenio. At the present time, several small specimens of Aztekium hintonii have been cultivated, with pronounced ribs, characteristic areoles, well-developed thorns and cottony material at the points, identical to the phenotype of the progenitor plants. (see photo).

Aztekium hintonii



TREES FOR THE PLANET fundraising event

Some photos of the auction and fundraising event at the Botanical Garden on Feb 27. We sincerely thank the support of the sponsors, artists, models, Jose Luis Mendoza, people who attended, caterers, staff and volunteers.

acto de recaudación de fondos




Cesar Arias, President of the Botanical Garden, participated in this event which took place November, 2010. His talk was entitled:  El Charco del Ingenio: a space for community integration in San Miguel de Allende. Watch it here. 




We thank the Czech international artist and poet, Katarina Pinosova, for writing a beautiful poem about El Charco and giving us permission to link our newsletter to it. Read it here.




Another visitor, Honey Sharp, was inspired to write an article about El Charco in the Berkshire Home Style magazine, an adapted version of which was published in Atencion recently. Thank you, Honey, for sharing your enthusiasm for the Garden with others of a similar interest both here and in Massachusetts. 



Guided Tours in El Charco
Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 am | in English
Duration: two hours | Cost: $80 pesos, members $50

Not only is the weather changing, so are the plants!  You can see a yellow landscape thanks to the beautiful flowers of the huizaches and the white flowers of the garambullos are opening much to the joy of the bees and our visitors.

visitas guiadas



Saturday, March 19 | 7 pm. | Plaza of 4 Winds | members free, 30 pesos general publ

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. 

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. Children welcome. Any questions, call Alicia Mayo at 152 .0376.

ceremonia de luna llena



Saturday, March 26 |  10 am
Sunday, March 27 | 10 am.

Cost $250 pesos | Limited space

This sweat-lodge steam bath, of ritual and healing character, takes place under the direction of an experienced temazcal leader in the ruins of the hacienda located in the Botanical Garden on the far side of the reservoir.

The combination of heat, humidity and fragrant herbs provides a purifying experience for the body and spirit. Its benefits are multiple: it activates circulation, increases the body’s defenses, eliminates pains, decreases uric acid, relaxes the muscles, regulates the nervous system, stimulates respiration and is excellent for losing weight.

RESERVATION NECESSARY : | Tel:154.8838, 154.4715, or in the Botanical Garden visitor’s center.



Bird-watching Tours
Every first and third Wednesday of the month, 9 am – 11:30 a.m.
Cost:  100 pesos general public | 60 pesos Audubon or El Charco members
Guide: Signe Hammer

The walks are for birders of all levels. They begin at 9:00 am 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. Your guide will meet you after you pass through the Reception area of the Botanical Garden.





Besides our usual wonderful products, we have added a small gallery section to our shop, which currently has photographs by Valerie Uteg and an oil painting by Mari Jose Marin.  Stop by and admire their work.





agave  garambullo  pajaros  nopales  bisnaga

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