Judd Foundation Opens Agave Garden in Marfa

Judd Foundation is pleased to announce the opening of the Agave Garden on West Oak Street in downtown Marfa. The garden features a variety agave plants native to the region and Donald Judd Furniture for public use.

“The Agave Garden is a space for the community of Marfa and a celebration of the biodiversity of our region,” said Rainer Judd, president of Judd Foundation. “Don wrote, ‘my first and largest interest is in my relation to the natural world, all of it, all the way out.’ This thinking is central to our work and we hope the garden provides greater awareness of his interest in the region and his commitment to the city of Marfa. Additionally, the very nature of the agave plants in the garden connects with our long-standing partnership with Tequila Casa Dragones and we are grateful for their support to realize this project.”

The garden was designed and planted in partnership with Jim Martinez, principle of a Marfa landscape design company who specializes in native plants of Texas and the Southwest. Martinez selected more than twenty agave species native to the Trans-Pecos region including: Agave ferox (Giant Agave), Agave havardiana (Harvard Agave), Agave lechuguilla (Chihuahua Agave), Agave parryi neomexicana (New Mexico Agave), Agave parryi truncata (Artichoke Agave), Agave ovatifolia (Whale’s Tongue Agave), and Agave victoria reginae (Queen Victoria Agave). The selection of the agave species was based on those local to the Chihuahuan Desert that have had historical use for food, beverage, fiber, cultural ceremony, and beauty for the indigenous tribes of the surrounding regions. Martinez also considered the evolution of the agave species as well as their use and importance to the insects, birds, and mammals.

“We are honored to be part of the Judd Foundation Agave Garden project, creating a community space which allows people to appreciate and learn about Agave while celebrating the bonds between Mexico and the U.S. In Mexico, Agave Azul Tequilana Weber has an enormous impact on our social and cultural fabric. We are committed to supporting initiatives that awaken the interest in Agave across Marfa, Mexico and around the world.” Bertha González Nieves, co-founder and CEO of Tequila Casa Dragones.

The garden is situated outside of the Cobb House, Whyte Building, and Gatehouse, three buildings on five and a half lots of property purchased by Donald Judd in 1989. Judd intended for these three buildings and the neighboring structures, which house his Art Studio and Architecture Studio, to be united as a complex enclosed by an adobe wall that was to run the length of Oak Street. On the west end of the wall, Judd incorporated a large niche which he planned to function as a weekend fruit and vegetable stand for the community that is now the location of the Agave Garden. The two benches installed in the garden were originally designed by Judd for the outdoor space at La Mansana de Chinati/The Block, his residence in Marfa. The newly fabricated furniture includes the Double Back Bench 20 and the Seat/Table/Seat Bench 26, which features two seats around a central table. The benches are intended to provide a contemplative place for visitors to spend time in the garden.

The Judd Foundation Agave Garden will open to the public with an online public program with Rainer Judd, Jim Martinez, and Bertha González Nieves as part of the Agave Festival Marfa. The talk and a celebration for the community will be held on Friday, June 25. A guide to the plants of the garden will be made available by Judd Foundation later this summer. The garden is part of Judd Foundation’s Marfa Restoration Plan which will open more of Judd’s buildings to the public and create mixed-use spaces for the community.

The Judd Foundation Agave Garden has been made possible through the generous support of Tequila Casa Dragones.