President, Coral Gables Garden Club
Betsy Tilghman graduated from the University of Florida with a major in English and worked in accounting before settling down on South Greenway Drive to raise her family and plant her garden (the day they moved in, the great Coral Gables Country Club fire had just leveled the clubhouse across Granada Golf Course, and burned receipts were floating in their pool). She joined the Coral Gables Garden Club in 2001, and two years ago assumed the presidency, a role which ends for her this month.
After a multi-year hiatus, Tilghman brought back the club’s annual Garden & House Tour, which took place in March. Because it was the starting point of the tour the club reinvigorated the Butterfly Garden at the Coral Gables Library using funds from a $75,000 beautification endowment donated by the Kerdyk family. This year the club also installed a Blue Star Memorial marker at the Youth Center, to honor service men and women who have served the nation.
What She Says
“As a club, we are most proud of the three entrances that we built in the ’90s and 2000s, the ones at Red Road and Coral Way; on Ponce at 8th Street; and on Miracle Mile at Douglas,” says Tilghman. As a private gardener, she is most proud of her orchid house, where many of the thriving orchids were inherited from her mother, also an avid gardener. “Gardening brings awareness of how fragile our earth is, and how much we can appreciate life and the natural beauty of our world,” she says. “It also brings an appreciation of how much our trees and canopy make Coral Gables different from other towns.”