Saddened by loss of former teacher and mentor

Grade 6 teacher made a lasting impression on columnnist's youth and as an adult.

I’ve written before about the importance of teachers and mentors in my life from elementary school to high school and beyond.

I am fortunate to enjoy continued relations with many of them in my adult life because of my exposure to the public with both my family business and my subsequent consulting business.

So I was saddened to read the passing of my first male teacher and the last of my elementary teachers before graduating to junior high in 1963.

Ron Haskins was my Grade 6 teacher at Raymer Elementary and it was a novelty back then to have a man heading up the class.

We learned about batteries and the principles of wiring in series and parallel; something I still remember as if it were yesterday.

I remember him as well when I was being reprimanded for something, and of course I can’t remember what the reason was because I was such a good little boy.

I do remember, however, the word “attitude” was top of mind for a few days and I think I was better for it.

Ron, as he insisted I call him when we reconnected in my young adult life, became a friend as has been the case with many of my former teachers.

In fact, I was honoured to council him as time went on with all things gardening and he in turn restored a couple of antique wooden carpentry levels for me.

I am very sad to think I won’t be having Mr. Haskins in my life anymore and I’m sure there are many who feel the same.


Fall has officially arrived in the Okanagan, and that means it’s time to gradually get the garden in shape for winter so spring gardening can be enjoyed without as much physical work.

I say gradually because if you wait until the last minute when the weather forecast calls for freezing temperatures and perhaps the first snowfall, it can be a real scramble.

Make a check list of things and set deadlines when they should be done.

Consider the following on your list:

• Aerating and top dressing the lawn

• Winterizing the rose bushes

• Planting some fall bulbs

• Cleaning up the annual beds

• lowing out the sprinklers

• Separating perennials

• Some fall weeding

• Turning the vegetable garden

• Stowing away patio furniture

• Checking the yard for tools to be maintained and stored away


What a great program the local governments put together to have our garden “waste” picked up regularly during the growing season.

Notice I put quotation marks around the word waste, because it is not wasted at all.

It goes to produce those wonderful products Ogogro and Glenmore Grow that we can use on our gardens all year long.

Some gardeners do still love to compost, however, and kudos to them.

Remember in nature all the leaves, twigs, grass and other organic debris is recycled back to the earth to replenish and nurture.

It’s only we humans that feel it is necessary to discard all of this to keep our yards neat and tidy.


Mark your calendar for Saturday, Oct. 22. I am putting on a two-hour session on the 10 best ways to kill houseplants, sponsored by the City of Kelowna to be held at the Mission Activity Centre at Sarsons Beach on Hobson Road.  To register you can go to the City of Kelowna website or call 250 469-8798.

Tune in to The Don Burnett Garden Show on AM 1150 News Talk Sports Saturday mornings from 8 to 10 a.m.


Kelowna Capital News