MUCH-LOVED gardening columnist Betty Munro, who died earlier this month aged 91 in Blenheim, will be missed greatly.
Betty had written a regular gardening column for the Southland Express since 1997, only packing up her writing instruments and computer last year when she moved to Blenheim to be closer to family.
Betty began writing for the community newspaper after former manager Camille Alabaster asked her to write a gardening column.
When interviewed last year, Betty said she was a bit unsure about it at first, but credited her late husband Dick who encouraged her to give it a go.
She did – for 22 years.
What began as a one-off, resulted in nine scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, which Betty said was more like a diary for her.
Betty was the longest-serving columnist for the Express, which she did on a voluntary basis.
Plants and gardening had always been a passion for Betty, who had been a member, and often a president, of many clubs and societies, including Southland Heritage Roses, Southland Alpine Garden, Canterbury Alpine Society and one of her most loved, the Edendale Garden Club.
One of six children, Betty Shanks was born in Warepa, where her parents farmed sheep.
She attended high school in Balclutha, and at 21 began work at the Edendale Telephone Exchange, where she worked for 11 years before marrying Dick Munro at the Edendale Presbyterian Church on March 10, 1962.
The couple lived in Kamihi, near Edendale, farming, before downsizing to 10 acres in Myross Bush for 10 years, then into Invercargill 20 years ago.
Each move meant the opportunity to create a new garden.
Southland Express manager Lyn Frisby said staff were very sad to hear of Betty’s passing.
“She was very special to us at the Express, and our readers.
“We so appreciated her columns, her way with words, her ability to write about her garden in an informal and lovely way which our readers could relate to.