Oral History Transcripts

Since its founding in 1926, the Garden has been home to many memorable characters - horticulturalists, landscape architects, botanists, historians, conservationists, and nature lovers of many stripes. These folks and their work have shaped our collective understanding of the Garden today. We are fortunate that staff throughout the years have captured different voices and experiences through writing, photos and interviews. The Garden's Oral History Program has been led by librarians, interns, and dedicated voulteers to show life through the eyes of the influential figures of our modern history. Here is a sampling of the transcripts of a few of the completed oral histories. We aim to make all of them available here, in addition to the physical copies held in the Blaksley Library.

Robert N. Muller, Ph.D.

Robert N. Muller

Director of Research at the Garden from 2002-2012, Bob reflects on growing up in Santa Barbara, teaching at the University of Kentucky, and writing the last edition of Trees of Santa Barbara.

Robert Muller Oral History Transcript

Carol and Geege Ostroff

Geege and Carol Ostroff

As on-site residents of the Garden since the early 1980s, Geege and Carol have been witnesses to many changes.

Carol and Geege Ostroff Oral History Transcript

Betsy Thies

Betsy Thies

A 47-year Garden volunteer, Betsy describes the evolution of the Garden Guild.

Betsy Thies Oral History Transcript

Steven L. Timbrook, Ph.D.

Steven Timbrook

First executive director of Ganna Walska Lotusland, and Coordinator of Education at the Garden from 1976 to 1986, Steve describes the activities of the Garden under the direction of Ralph Philbrick and the challenges of preparing a private garden to become a public non-profit.

Steven Timbrook Oral History Transcript

Dieter H. Wilken, Ph.D.

Dieter Wilken

A pillar of California botany, this interview reflects Dieter's generosity in sharing his expertise with colleagues, dedication to good science, and his enthusiasm for writing and teaching.

Dieter Wilken Oral History Transcript


The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden conserves California native plants and habitats for the health and well-being of people and the planet.

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.
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