“Vail” conjures images of mountains, snow and ski slopes but it’s well worth visiting in the summer to see the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens –the botanical gardens with the highest elevation in the world at 8200 feet. I was there in July and it’s a cool place, literally and figuratively! Their mission is to promote conservation of alpine plants and fragile mountain environments and it’s truly educational. The rocky hardscape and water features are stunning and really set off the plant material. We can’t grow many of these plants here (our soil doesn’t drain as well and our humidity makes alpine plants rot) but let’s not begrudge them these plants– they’re growing season is really short with August being the ONLY month that’s likely to be frost-free.