Burnett: Heritage brings back memories

Kelowna Garden Club's annual flower show is at the Guisachan Gardens Saturday, July 5, from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

How many of us have the opportunity to revisit a property where we spent many enjoyable childhood days playing and exploring.

I am fortunate to be able to do this whenever I feel like backing off my busy schedule and contemplating my existence past and future.

The land south of Guisachan Road between Burtch and Richter was once owned by the Cameron family.

It was eventually shared by the two brothers—Alistair who lived in the log home situated on Richter Street near Burtch Avenue, and Paddy who lived in the original home built by Lord and Lady Aberdeen which is situated on Guisachan with access off Cameron.

Both brothers were my dad’s close friends and he spoke of them often with admiration and respect. Even though I lived on the 10-acre parcel across from what is now Cottonwoods Extended Care Facility, my friends and I couldn’t resist the temptation to jump the fence and explore the vast acreage of the Guisachan Ranch.

There were sheep, cows, horses and other livestock to be investigated and somewhat harassed I’m now embarrassed to say. I can remember on a couple of occasions being reprimanded for chasing sheep from both my dad as well as Paddy Cameron.

As time went on, I grew out of my youthful exuberance and got to know the family on a more adult and professional level, trading gardening notes with Mrs. Cameron (Elaine) and talking about the history of the property with Paddy.

While I didn’t know Alistair that well, I remember a time when we ran into each other at Woodlawn Service Station on the corner of Glenwood and Richter. He was filling up the tank in his old (even at that time) 1930s Dodge pickup.

Even though the hundreds of acres of land once compiling the Guisachan Ranch is now homes and townhouse complexes, a small portion including the original family home has been preserved for the public’s enjoyment.

That residence is now the Guisachan Restaurant operated by the internationally renowned chef George Rieder and the surrounding gardens have been restored and are now taken care of by the Okanagan Heritage Society. This is truly a beautiful place to spend quiet time and walk on a historically significant property.

Each year, the Kelowna Garden Club holds its annual flower show in the gardens at Guisachan and I am privileged to conduct a walkabout to familiarize folk with some interesting historical facts and stories as well as discuss some of the magnificent plants growing there. This year’s flower show is Saturday, July 5, 11 a.m, to 3:30 p.m., 1060 Cameron Ave.

Here is your chance as well to enter your flowers and plants in the juried flower show and an opportunity to win a ribbon or trophy. I received an honourable mention for my Delphinium entry last year and I proudly display the award in my office. Go to the Kelowna Garden Club website to enter a contest category.


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