EAGLE COUNTY — In a little more than three cultivated acres of Vail’s Ford Park, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens educates, entertains and is considered an iconic summer destination for so many. This spring, the gardens’ success was recognized nationally as one of the “30 Must See Public Gardens in the United States” by the online publication Active Times.
Among the list are some of our country’s most distinguished gardens, including Chicago Botanical Gardens, Longwood Gardens, Missouri Botanical Gardens and New York Botanical Gardens. Nicola Ripley, the gardens’ executive director, couldn’t be happier.
‘We Are Honored’
“We are honored to be on the list, and given the competition, it really speaks volumes for the success of the gardens,” Ripley said. “Now in its 26th year of operation, I have been fortunate to see Betty Ford Alpine Gardens grow and mature into one of the very prestigious small gardens in the country.”
Ripley’s association with the nonprofit organization has been instrumental with its development since nearly the beginning. Born in England, Ripley has spent most of her life appreciating and understanding alpine plants.
“As a child, my family and I hiked all over England and I developed a keen interest in alpine plants,” she said. “I am very fortunate to have followed my passion and turned it into a profession.”
An Increase of Attention
There is increasing attention in the community to see the next chapter of Betty Ford Alpine Gardens come to fruition. Recently the Alpine Gardens expanded its board of trustees adding Kathy Borgen, Susan Frampton and Doe Browning. The new members along with existing members Sheika Gramshammer, Susan Ford Bales, Carey Firestone Romer, Margaret Rogers, Gwen Scalpello, Liz Paxson and Michael Charles, are helping to shape the future of Vail’s botanical garden.
“Membership and operational support is growing, the board and staff are dedicated to our mission and the strategic plan is on track to become the premier alpine botanical garden in the world.” Ripley said.
Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is free and open to the public from dawn until dusk throughout the year. The Alpine Gardens offers yoga classes, cooking demonstrations, guided tours, photography workshops and a variety of programs designed for children. For more information, visit bettyfordalpinegardens.org or call 970-476-0103, ext. 3.