Located at the Fabian Garcia Science Center in Las Cruces NM is the botanical gardens and turf demonstration plot. It is open to the public. Here they screen new plant materials and teach classes on landscaping, ornamental design, and maintenance. Pioneering New Mexico State University chile breeder Fabian Garcia has been inducted into the American Society for Horticultural Science Hall of Fame. During a five-decade career at NMSU. Garcia laid the foundation for the state’s $400 million chile pepper industry.
The first deed signed for Fabian Garcia Research Center happened in 1906 and was for 23.16 acres. Currently, the center has 41.10 acres of land available. 11.15 acres were purchased from H.B. Machen in 1924, 12.72 acres were purchased from C.T. Turney in 1928, with 7.33 acres going to Interstate 10, and the last 1.40 acres were purchased in 1991 from B.J. Crump. Fabian Garcia, a professor of Horticulture from 1906 to 1945, once provided rooms right here on this farm to house poor Mexican-American students during their studies at NMSU. Fabian Garcia was named the first director of the State Agricultural Experiment Station in 1913. As a horticulturist, he produced the first reliable chile pod, which was the beginning of the hot “Sandia” pepper.
Fabian Garcia Research Center not only houses the Chili Pepper Institute, but includes, and is not limited to research plots and greenhouses supporting alfalfa breeding and genetics, viticulture, cotton, horticulture, nematology, micro-plot, turfgrass water management, IR-4, and onion research.
The NMSU onion breeding program is one of the only two active, public onion breeding programs in the United States that is releasing cultivars and germplasm lines. NMSU was recently granted $450,000 to research algae for bio-diesel.
The viticulture program has recently planted many grape varieties which you will see on the east side of farm. If wine is your thing, you can look into signing up for a Wine Making class that takes place right here at the farm.
The gardens at Fabian are also a hot spot for visitors. These include the Gazebo which has numerous weddings and photoshoots. The Fabian Garcia Botanical Gardens are open from sunrise to sunset. Hours may vary.