Tuesday, October 25, 2016


In late September I spent a week in Vail, with 3 friends.

The air was glorious and even at 8,000' I am pleased to say the lungs still work well. I certainly didn't need any of this. The last time I saw these oxygen canisters was in Cusco, which is 11,000'

There was a trail within walking distance of the condo, which I took several times. The fall color of those aspens was spectacular. One time as I walked there was a strong gust of wind and golden leaves filled the air. Winter is just around the corner.

And grasses were blooming along the creek.

There was talk of a moose having been spotted in the area and the posting on the trail notice board mentioned this being a mountain lion area. That had me watching my back a few times. But I spotted no wildlife.

You would not be surprised to hear that before I left I did a little research to see if there were any gardens in the area and came up with the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, the highest public garden in the world.

The Fords had long time connections with the Vail community and in 1988 the gardens were named in her honor.

The gardens have a fine collection of alpine plants displayed in a wonderful mountain setting. They also promote the conservation of the world's rarest alpine plants. A small visitor center has plenty of displays about alpines as well as regions of the world where they grow. I recall a visit to the alpine meadows of Rocky Mountain National Park some years ago. A biting wind blew over the tundra, even at the height of summer, and elk grazed all around us. This day was quite different as we left to explore the garden. Cool enough to wear a sweater but still with a warm sun.

They have a fine display of unusual trough gardens. You know how much I love troughs!

And crevice gardens with their tiny alpine treasures.

If you think fall is all abut those burnished golds and bronzes then think again although pinks do seem to be a little out of place. And yet these are the fall blooming colchicums.

and Veronica spicata 'Red Fox'

and the pink fall color of this ground cover.

There is a children's area with some delightful stone sculpture. (Vail abounds in expensive sculpture.) Adventure boxes had been placed underneath benches and we saw one child opening up a box to find some little treasures.

There was plenty of lawn for picnicking and for children to run around.

With it being the end of the season the gift shop was closed and several other buildings around the garden. It was very quiet and peaceful and I as glad not to have missed the opportunity to visit.


  1. How beautiful it is! I've never been there but, when I think of Vail, I think of snow and skiing but surely nothing could beat this scenery. I think you visited at just the right time.

  2. Troughs! What a bonanza of your favored gardening containers. I'm sure you came home filled with new ideas - can't wait to see how you tackle them.

  3. Looks like a perfect time of year for it. I'd dearly love to see the aspens turning one of these days.