Repairs to Chihuahuan Desert Gardens at UTEP underway

The Chihuahuan Desert Gardens will get a special facelift this winter, thanks to a generous donation from the Maxie Groce Templeton Estate.

The repairs, which began Monday, Dec. 7, include concrete, rock wall and wood restoration work, as well repairs to several planters within the gardens. New, vibrant colors will be added to the gardens. El Fortín, the museum’s replica of a fort used by the indigenous people of the Chihuahuan Desert, will also be repaired, and a new awning will replace the current awning in the garden’s amphitheater.

Contractors estimate the work will be completed by February.

Due to the construction, certain areas of the gardens will be closed off to the public during the repair work. As such, contractors will limit their work to one section of the gardens at a time to still allow visitors to enjoy the botanical gardens.

The Chihuahuan Desert Gardens were established in 1999 by Wynn Anderson, the garden’s first botanical curator. Anderson remains an active volunteer in the gardens and is the executor of the Templeton Estate, making the donation for the repairs possible.

Today, the gardens offer one of the most extensive collections of plants that are native or adapted to the Chihuahuan Desert. The gardens were also a source of inspiration for UTEP’s most recent campus transformation, which now includes native plants throughout campus.

Maxie G. Templeton was the widow of Dr. Arleigh B. Templeton, president at The University of Texas at El Paso from 1972 to 1980. She died in December, 2014, in her home in San Antonio. “She had a particular affection for UTEP and was always interested in the development of the Gardens,” Anderson said.

Author: Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens