BURNETT: Tiptoeing through the tulips on memory lane

BURNETT: Tiptoeing through the tulips on memory lane

Don Burnett is a long-time Kelowna Capital News gardening columnist.

By Don Burnett

Because I was born, grew up and have spent my working years in Kelowna I’ve left many footprints around this beautiful city of ours and I continue to do so today.

Recently I was up on Dilworth Mountain helping some new home owners re-design their garden and I couldn’t help reminiscing of the time when I got my first summer job outside my dad’s nursery business, at Mountain Shadows Driving Range.

For those newcomers to Kelowna this was on Highway 97 right across from Sid’s Groceries or for those real new-comers where the Walmart and other box stores sit today. I remember when Mrs. Martin the owner offered me the job; it was when I was helping my dad plant all the elm trees around the perimeter of the range.

At 14 years old I was excited about having a job where my dad wasn’t my boss and each day I would pedal my bike from our Ethel Street home out the highway down what we called the Barlee Stretch.

First past the Valley Fruit Stand and the Benvoul-Inn (Kelowna’s answer to the White Spot) around the bend past Seig Motors (the Rambler Dealer) then the Kelowna Zoo and the Top Hat Grocery and finally to Sid’s and the Driving Range. At 14 years old I was thrilled to be taught how to drive the British Land Rover with the ball picker attached to the front bumper, my favourite job.

My other jobs included making milkshakes and tidying up and the most memorable was carefully painting a red stripe around hundreds of golf balls to distinguish them as range balls. How much did I get paid for my labour? Very little in cash however I could hit as many balls as I wished and the best payment of all was unlimited access to the riding stables run by an old grizzled cowboy.

This is where my story ties in with Dilworth Mountain. Jack Martin and I would ride up the mountain right to the top of the cliff where there was at that time an old pine tree shaped like an umbrella. The view of course was amazing as it is for the lucky homeowners today. Along the way possibly in what is now the Cascade neighbourhood we had an imaginary old western town named Dodge City with all the typical buildings such as a saloon, livery stable, schoolhouse and rodeo grounds; Jack had quite the imagination.

I must say it was a blessing growing up and working in this area all my life and although we old-timers sometimes pine for the simpler days I for one am so proud of how Kelowna and the surrounding areas have grown into still one of the best places to live in the entire world.

I’m so excited about a planned trip in April 2019 to see the amazing tulip and other spring bulbs in the country that made them so famous.

We are organizing a River Cruise featuring Dutch and Belgium waterways If you are interested in hearing all about this exciting trip call or email Gail Fritsen at Marlin travel. 250-868-2540 or gail.fritsen@marlintravel.ca

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@KelownaNewsKat
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