Burnett: Santa to chopper in to Bylands Garden Centre

Included in the celebration is cheerful live Christmas music, hot dogs and hot chocolate…bring something for the food bank.

On Saturday at 11 a.m., the jolly old elf Santa Claus will be arriving by helicopter at Bylands Garden Centre to visit with the kids.

I can remember when the Burnetts and the Bylands were friendly competitors in the garden centre business, and how we each welcomed Santa in our own way.

Quite often our Santa would come with one of his reindeer, but we were always impressed that when he visited Bylands he came in his helicopter.

For the past three decades, Santa’s arrival by helicopter has been instilling in children’s minds the magic of the Christmas season and this year will be no exception as Santa and his two elf helpers will swoop down into the nursery on Byland Road in West Kelowna to greet the eagerly waiting children.

Included in the celebration is cheerful live Christmas music, hot dogs and hot chocolate (proceeds to a local charity and free hayrides from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

While it’s a free event,  Bylands would appreciate a small donation of a nonperishable item for the food bank.

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Also this weekend, on Sunday Ted Corbett’s Woodhaven Tree Farm will open for the Christmas season with a huge selection of quality home grown Christmas trees.

Every year, Ted has the bonfire ablaze and the delicious hot chocolate flowing.

Where else can you pick out a tree while it is still growing in the ground, have it cut, cleaned and wrapped right before your eyes?

Throughout the year, Ted nurtures his thousands of trees by feeding and grooming each one as only he can do.

So when you go to the farm to choose your tree, you know you will get something very special.

Choose from Douglas Fir, Nordman Fir, Grand Fir, Noble Fir, Fraser Fir and my absolute favourite the Concolor Fir.

To find the farm, once you turn onto MacKenzie Road in Rutland, follow the signs to 1705 Swainson Rd.

For more information check out the website Woodhaventreefarms.com or call 250-826-8733.

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On a very sad note, I received news that my friend Mark Flanagan has passed away at the age of 56 due to a heart attack.

This news has shocked the horticultural community in the UK and around the world.

We were due to meet with him while visiting the Chelsea Flower Show next May.

I was so excited about getting to meet him,  as was he to address our group of enthusiastic gardeners.

I will be contacting his associate Tony Kirkham, who heads up the Arboretum at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where he has worked since 1978.

The Kew Gardens is on our schedule while in London and I’m hoping Tony will be available to address our group.

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With the cold, snowy weather forecast to hit the valley this week, I remind everyone to make sure the garden and related equipment is winterized so when warm weather returns in the spring, all will be in tip top shape.