Living Collections

Alpines of the World


Plants are in a constant competitive battle for sunlight, water, and nutrition. Mountain plants have special adaptations that open up niches unavailable to other plants. Gardeners can take advantage of the plants that have figured out how to survive in tough mountain conditions. Scroll down to learn about the collections at Betty Ford from around the world. 

Take a Virtual Tour

Take a tour with Curator of Plant Collections, Nick Courtens, as he describes the many different areas of the Gardens. This video was created for The North American Rock Garden Society 2020 virtual conference. 

South Africa

The Dragon Mountains of South Africa have plants found nowhere else on Earth.

European Alps

Plants around the world that are adapted to cold, harsh conditions above treeline are all called alpines.


Early humans domesticated plants in the Caucasus mountains

Central Asia & The Silk Road

The legendary network of east-west overland trade routes that linked Asia to the Middle East and Europe also provided a connection for diverse plants.


Miraculously, plants have found ways to survive in the world’s tallest mountains and on the highest plateaus of the Asian Himalayas.

Rocky Mountain Ecosystems

From high alpine to high desert

The Many ecosystems that make up the rocky mountains contain plants that have adapted to cold, dry, wet, rocky and harsh conditions. Betty Ford Alpine Gardens contains many of these plants from all elevations. Learn more by clicking below. 

Trembling Forests

Adaptable aspens are the most widespread tree species in North America.

Alpine Look-alikes

The world over, alpine plants look alike

Ponderosa Pine Forests

Ponderosa pine forests are the most common and widely distributed in North America.

Wetland Wonderland

Like elsewhere, water is essential for all life in the mountains.

Drought Survivors

Alpines of Colorado

This garden area is a shout out to Colorado alpine plant natives.

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