Betty Scholtz, director emeritus of Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, NY

Betty Scholtz in her office, 1980

‘Betty takes a few minutes off from her busy schedule to page through Peter Jackson's Wild Flowers of Table Mountain. Her desk and office are covered with material pertaining to anything in the plant world.’ Photographer: Don Watson, South African Garden & Home


Written by Pepe Sofianos; photographs by Don Watson (incl. top centre photo on Index page)

{This article appeared in September 1980 in South African Garden & Home; reproduced with kind permission. I had never heard of Elizabeth Scholtz before reading this article and it would seem she is not well-known in South Africa, unlike in New York where she still lives. A South African garden designer living in New York and friend of Marijke Honig, Marie Viljoen, is privileged to know Ms Scholtz and writes affectionately about accompanying her to lunch with quite famous friends and discovering serendipitous connections.}

Trying to have an interview with Betty Scholtz is like having a conversation with a person who is on a round-about. She is so busy that even her tea-breaks are official. Betty is in and out of her office like a flash of lightning, answering phones, discussing projects and appointments with her secretary, meeting dignitaries, flying off all over the world delivering lectures, writing books, overseeing the upkeep and control of the 20 ha that comprise Brooklyn Botanic Garden [BBG], that to corner her for half an hour is a real treat.

Somehow we managed to meet this fine and distinguished woman recently on a quick trip to New York, hoping to bring home with us some of her incomparable charm, knowledge and warmth. Our meeting was short and sweet. She was longing to spend more time with people from ‘home’, but duty called. However, those few minutes in her company were more than enough to know that here indeed, is a woman of our times. >>