The Octagon – May 2021

Greetings all….

Spring has sprung, the birds are singing and the hummingbirds have returned…..don’t you just  love Mother Nature when all her buds and blooms are unfurling. My garden is definitely my happy place, a place to recharge and just be….. midst the constant barrage of pandemic news and tragedies in the world.

We were saddened to hear of the passing of Gretchen Dawson this past weekend. Gretchen was a Board member for many years, looking after Memberships and even after she retired from the Board, she and her husband Jim continued their unwavering support of the Friends of Fintry.  Our condolences go to Jim and the family at this very sad time.

Gretchen Dawson

As more and more people get vaccinated, we are looking forward to some sort of normalcy in our little corner of the world. We hope to be able to open for tours of the Manor House and Barn mid-June with much the same Covid protocols as last year. Unfortunately, no Fintry Spring Fair this year, probably no July Fair but we are hoping that our September Fair will become a reality. In the meantime, we encourage you to visit our website and click on “virtual tours” for a look inside the Manor House hosted by our Curator Dan Bruce.            

It is Membership Renewal time again. Your membership with the Friends of Fintry runs from May 1st to April 30th each year. In normal times many people would renew at our Spring Fair in May but since this will not be happening (again, this year) we ask that you renew through our website at or send a cheque to Friends of Fintry, c/o 4320 Crystal Drive, Vernon, B.C. V1T 8V5. Our membership fees remain the same, $20 single, $35 couple. Your membership is important to the Friends as it supports the Society in our work; demonstrates to BC Parks and the Regional District of Central Okanagan and other funding agencies the broad-based support that our Society truly does enjoy.

We were delighted to hear that we will be receiving funding for two students through Canada Summer Jobs. Having students assist with tours of the Manor House and Barn certainly takes a load of our hard-working volunteers. It also gives those students hands-on experience in museum/heritage site work and research pertaining to the history of the Fintry Estate.

Our Curator Dan Bruce has been busy searching for and finally obtaining a beautiful orchid print which will hang in the Fintry Manor House in memory of one of our founding members, Ken Waldon, an orchid enthusiast. Following is more information about this print.

“As was mentioned in the last issue of The Octagon, the orchid print acquired to be a memorial to Ken Waldon has now arrived, and has been framed.  Visitors will be able to see it in the living room as and when we are able to open for tours this season.

Many people have shown their appreciation of Ken and the vision that he and his wife Jan had in establishing the Fintry Estate as a unique historic and cultural asset for the Okanagan valley, and all of British Columbia.  Firstly, we thank Elisabeth Burdon of Old Imprints Ltd, in Portland, Oregon for ensuring that the print required was available, and within our means. Her expert packaging meant that it survived an “oups” event while en route.  An anonymous donor covered the cost of framing, and our friends at Picture Perfect in Kelowna persuaded their materials supplier, Larson-Juhl of Vancouver to donate the framing molding. Linda and her team, Neil and Eileen put the whole thing together in a very short time, so that the final result could be shown to Jan before being taken to Fintry.

The print is from the Robert Warner and Benjamin Williams publication, ” Select Orchidaceous Plants ” essentially a very deluxe guide to the best of the orchids that were available to gardeners in the mid- 19th century, the peak of what could be called ‘orchid fever’. The famous Scottish botanical illustrator, Walter Hood Fitch was commissioned to produce the coloured lithographs for the book, which he did with his well renowned skill. The publication date was 1862 and the London firm of Vincent Brooks was responsible for the actual printing.   It should be pointed out that Old Imprints is not one of those dealers that cut plates from antique books to sell separately. Loose plates become only available if a book has been badly damaged beyond reasonable repair.

Jan Waldon holding the framed print

Ken Waldon would have had much to say about the cultivation of this particular orchid, Aerides nobile, now known as Aerides odorata  It is a giant among orchids, and a native of South-east Asia, including the forests of Myanmar, (where Ken and Jan did volunteer work some years ago).  Ken did not have this one, but those that he was growing are now being cared for by Don Burnett in his new greenhouse in Kelowna.

This print reminds us that Ken was an orchid enthusiast, but he was by no means limited in his interests. His life touched a great many, near and far.”

Stay safe everyone…the end of this challenging time is in sight.

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

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