"Just walking along these winding paths - with the abundance of beauty so close to the touch - brings an introspection and sense of calm too often missing in our lives."
April 8, 1918
Today is the birthday of the beloved First Lady Betty Ford.
As a woman, Betty Ford consistently defied the odds.
She was a dancer.
She liked to have fun.
She was an incredible trailblazer and was very open about her struggles with alcohol and breast cancer.
Betty revolutionized addiction treatment.
She opened her center for treatment while she was in the middle of her own recovery.
Today, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is a living tribute to this remarkable woman.
Known as Vail’s Alpine Treasure, the garden was founded in 1985 by the Vail Alpine Garden Foundation.
In 1988, it was renamed in honor of former first lady Betty Ford.
This special place is located in Ford Park right next to the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater – named in honor of Betty's husband, the 38th president of the United States.
Over the years, the Betty Ford Alpine Garden has evolved to comprise four distinct gardens: the Mountain Perennial Garden (1989), the Mountain Meditation Garden (1991), the Alpine Rock Garden (1999), & the Children’s Garden (2002.)
Today, over 3,000 species of high-altitude plants host children’s programs, horticultural therapy activities, and numerous partnerships and conservation initiatives.
In 1991, Betty said,
When I was a little girl, I spent many cherished hours with my mother in her garden.
She wisely marked off an area for my very own plants.
As we worked together, she nurtured me as she nurtured my love of gardening.
This nurturing mother-daughter relationship, with its love growing strong in a garden, has been passed along to my daughter, Susan, and her two girls.
When we first talked of plans for the Vail Alpine Gardens, I never dreamed it would grow and flourish to such magnitude.
But as each season brings new blooms and greater beauty to the gardens, they become a source of infinite pride & pleasure for all of us.
I visit as often as I can, but it is never often enough. Each week provides a different, more beautiful picture.
As someone who has always loved gardening, it fills me with a great sense of serenity.
Just walking along these winding paths - with the abundance of beauty so close to the touch - brings an introspection and sense of calm too often missing in our lives.
In September of 2019, the Denver Botanic Garden tweeted,
Colorado's alpine plants are impacted by climate change.
With Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, we are finalizing the North American Botanic Garden Strategy for Alpine Plant Conservation to serve as a blueprint for protecting these fragile species in the U.S. and Canada.