Katie Byland, matriarch of the family that from small beginnings in 1954 went on to establish the vast award winning nursery and greenhouse operation on the west side, has passed away.
The Burnett family and the Byland families have a relationship that goes back to those early beginnings in the 1950s as I can remember making the trip across the lake to pick up nursery stock with my dad.
Often the trip was made at the end of the day when my dad could break away from the business and we would end up being invited in to have a bite with Adrian and Katie. In those days my dad was in his mid to late 40s and Adrian and Katie were in their 20s.
When we closed down the Greenhouse Garden Centre portion of our business in 1997 my relationship with the Bylands became even closer as I helped out in their garden centre for a few years. During this time I was able to have many conversations with Katie as she made daily visits to the store to, as she put it, “keep an eye on things”.
In 2008 Katie came with us on our trip to Seattle and we stuck together like family enjoying every minute of it. As a passenger on the bus she was quite a celebrity and I know she enjoyed the whole trip.
Katie lost Adrian in 1982 and it was devastating for the entire family; however, she and her children carried on with his dream of a successful world-class nursery business and he would be so proud of his family’s accomplishments to this end.
My condolences go out to John and Maria, Anita and Rico and their families.
By the time you read this Ken Salvail and I will be at the Northwest Flower and Garden show with a bus load of passionate gardeners. The theme for this year’s show is “Romance Blossoms” so we are calling the bus “the Love Bus”.
This will be the 11th time we have taken this trip and it never gets tiring. The several acres of displays include huge landscapes, thousands of plants in full blossom forced into bloom especially for the show and, of course, one of my favourite components, the seminars put on by some of the most respected in the gardening world.
On the way back we will stop in to see our own favourite garden guy Brian Minter at which time he will give us our own private presentation on what’s new and exciting. While at Minter Country Gardens in Chilliwack we can browse the garden centre and purchase some special plants and other items in Brian’s unique inventory.
Once we leave Chilliwack and embark on the last leg of the journey we will hand out the door prizes; everyone gets one then Ken and I will stage a mock garden show answering questions from the passengers.
Speaking of the Garden Show, for those of you not on the bus you will hear a recorded version taped especially for the Saturday morning we won’t be here.