Burnett: Close of summer a great time for gardeners

Indicators of fall are upon us. A bad thing? Not even close! This is about to be my favourite time of the year.

You can put this summer in your pocket and call it a good old Okanagan hottie.

After a relatively wet spring, near flooding of the creeks and the lake exceeding full pool, we settled into a stretch of great weather, the kind of weather that makes us famous across the country.

Even though we are now hanging on to the last vestiges of the summer heat, the indicators of fall are upon us. A bad thing? Not even close! This is about to be  my favourite time of the year.

With the evenings now cooling off, the aroma in the air is signalling the start of fall. Our lawns will also now start to freshen up.

The roses are getting ready for a final “flush” into fall while gardeners are getting the bug to again get out and dig.

It’s a bit early to talk about fall colour in the gardens, but that’s coming too.

This time of year brings back memories of a decade of my life when I was just beginning to cut my adult teeth.

Even though there were some things in the 1970s I would like to forget, such as disco music and car designs, that was the decade of my 20s. Even though I was working very long days in the spring running our family’s garden centre, the fall was a time when I could break away and do some of the activities available to us here in paradise.

Fly fishing was a big one for me. There isn’t a lake here in the Central Okanagan where I haven’t wet a line at some point.

I did a bit of grouse hunting as well. I remember getting up a couple of times before the sun came up to crouch with my father-in-law on the banks of Mission Creek waiting for the moment we could bag a couple of ducks as the sun came up.

This was a lot of work for a couple of ducks but being in my 20s I just had to get it out of my system. I find it hard to fathom those duck hunting expeditions took place on the now Mission Creek Greenway adjacent to the driving range on Benvoulin Road.

I much preferred, though, to get up in the mountains and catch fish or shoot grouse, although that eventually became secondary to simply enjoying the diversity of native plants growing in their natural environment.

I know those fall activities played an important role in developing my passion for garden plants.

Once I discovered there was a native counterpart to just about everything we sold at the garden centre, my walks through the bush took twice as long as they normally would. Native honeysuckle, columbine, mock orange, juniper, dogwood, orchids and penstemon are just a few plants that come to mind.

So don’t be sorry our summer is coming to an end just be thankful the best season of the year is about to come upon us.

Kelowna Capital News