Alpine gardens director receives award for merit
VAIL — Betty Ford Alpine Gardens Director Nicola Ripley was recently awarded the North American Rock Garden Societies Award of Merit. This honor is given to those who have made outstanding contributions to rock and alpine gardening and to the North American Rock Garden Society. The society is an organization for gardening enthusiasts interested in alpine, saxatile and low-growing perennials.
Ripley is a leader in public gardening in North America. She was elected chairman of the board of the American Public Garden Association, a consortium of nearly 585 public gardens.
“Her lectures on funding, construction and planting of the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens have been inspiring,” said David Sellars, a regular contributor in Rock Garden Quarterly and North American Rock Garden Societies member. “Nicola has done a wonderful job of outreach in her role as director of Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. She has clearly made a difference to the development of a unique garden in a very special location that promotes rock gardening to a wider public.”
As director, Ripley has expanded the role of the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens to conduct research on rare montane and alpine plants of her region. Together, they are actively monitoring several species near Vail.
Betty Ford Alpine Gardens has initiated collaborations with other gardens and agencies to study the effects of global warming on alpine plants and the gardens has always promoted awareness of the need for conservation and sensible landscaping in Colorado — becoming a tourist attraction that has raised the awareness of rock gardening to the tourists who visit Colorado in the summer.
With more than 3,000 alpine and native plants, the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens also holds the National Colorado Alpine Collection through the North American Plant Collections Consortium.