Sima Eliovson

This was Sima's garden in Dunkeld West

This was Sima's garden in Dunkeld West, Jhb.
Click here to enlarge

I contacted the Johannesburg Garden Club, who said merely that they remembered her. In Emmarentia Park the ‘Floreum’ carries her name. On the internet her books are widely advertised.

Then, the Robin Eliovson in Australia whom I reached through the internet, confirmed that he was indeed her son.

Sima Eliovson, née Benveniste, was born on 1 November 1920 in Cape Town and died on 4 June 1990 in Johannesburg at the age of 69. Her father was a resident of Rhodes Island in Greece (then governed by Turkey or Italy) but the family was of Spanish descent. She married Ezra Eliovson on 29 June 1942 in Johannesburg (sadly no wedding photograph - a news staple in those years - in The Star of that period).

Like Una van der Spuy after her, she didn't initially train to become a horticulturalist. ‘‘She started her interest in flowers when she moved into a home which had a wattle plantation for a garden and as there was no reference material to plant a garden, she went to University and drew out reference material to assist her in growing the garden,” Robin Eliovson says.

At some time during her BA studies she had botany as a subject, for she thanks Dr HB Gilliland, senior lecturer in botany at Wits University, who encouraged and guided her trawling through botanical literature in preparing South African flowers for the garden. Dr Gilliland left Wits in 1955 to found the herbarium at the National University of Singapore, today part of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research.

Her erstwhile lecturer's knowledge of tropical plants influenced her. In the 1970s Sima wrote an article on the flora of Singapore for SA Garden&Home and later, of course, her work on Roberto Burle Marx. >>