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Elizabeth Scholtz Celebrates 50 Years at BBG

On November 29, 2010, Elizabeth Scholtz, BBG's Director Emeritus, celebrated 50 years of outstanding service to the Garden. For half a century, Betty has been a vital resource for staff, volunteers, and visitors, who treasure her vast knowledge of horticulture and the good humor for which she is famed. Betty is a peerless ambassador and advocate for public gardens and horticultural education throughout the world. She has led over 100 botanical tour groups to 46 countries for BBG since 1966 and has mentored several generations of North American public garden professionals.

Born in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1921, Betty received a Bachelor of Science in botany and zoology from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. After a distinguished career in medical research in Cape Town and Boston, she joined the staff of BBG in 1960 as head of Adult Education. She eventually became director of the Garden and also served as its first vice president. Under Betty’s watch, BBG weathered the city government’s bankruptcy, grew the Adult Education program from 1,100 over 4,000 students, and improved the Garden’s collections.

Betty's unfailingly positive outlook on life, keen interest in people—especially in young people—and overarching love for gardens continue to inspire everyone she meets.

Update: News 12 Brooklyn interviewed Betty about her time at BBG. Watch the video on BBG's YouTube channel.

Rebecca Bullene is a former editor at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. She is the proprietor of Greenery NYC, a creative floral and garden design company that specializes in botanical works of art including terrariums, urban oasis gardens, and whimsical floral arrangements.


  • Barry R. Phillips September 3, 2011

    Betty, can I say from the very bottom of my heart what a fantastic honour and pleasure it was to be involved in just a tiny part of your wonderful botanical life… my love and very best wishes go to you.

  • Barbara Hall December 10, 2010

    Ms. Scholtz belongs to an endearing cadre of Brooklyn “endangered species.” While a BBG volunteer and sometime educator at the Garden, I used to stop in her office and listen to her unfurl many memories, her bits of wisdom. - And, yes indeed, she can be very funny!
    I can only hope someone has approached her about oral histories.

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