COLUMN: Rare botanical paintings on display

Summerland is getting a chance to view some rare botanical paintings during the 100th anniversary of the Summerland Ornamental Gardens.

Summerland is getting an amazing chance to view some rare botanical paintings during the 100th anniversary of the Summerland Ornamental Gardens.

The paintings, done during a two year period from 1894 to 1896, are the work of Julia Bullock-Webster who visited family in Keremeos from England in 1894.

These watercolour paintings detailed illustrations of plant life found in the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys over 100 years ago.

Opportunities like this don’t come around very often and technical paintings like these almost have to be seen to be believed.

The ability that some people have to recreate the world around, especially the natural world, is almost other worldly, especially when you consider the fact that, while they may not have pre-dated photography, they definitely pre-dated colour photography and were, at the time, the standard way of accurately cataloguing the natural world—think people like John James Audubon whose detailed paintings of birds set a standard for wildlife illustration nearly 60 years before Bullock-Webster came to the Okanagan.

These beautiful paintings will be on display at the Summerland Ornamental Gardens, on July 16 and 17, courtesy of the Penticton Art Gallery and are not to be missed. It’s not every day these paintings come out of the archive and there’s no telling when you might get another chance to see them.

For more information visit the Summerland Ornamental Gardens website at

For those looking to something musical while you’re waiting for the 100th anniversary of the botanical gardens, Thornhaven Estate Winery’s summer concert series gets started on July 1 this year with a performance by Pam Ferens.

Thornhaven puts on a great music series every summer that features music all weekend long, Saturday and Sunday, on their patio.

The variety of musical acts that perform here during the summer runs the gamut from acoustic singer-songwriters to classic rock cover bands and just about everything in between.

It’s the perfect way to spend a few hours sitting on a patio, taking in the spectacular view and enjoying some great local wine.

Performances run from 1 to 4 p.m. during July and August and more information, along with a complete list of performers can be found online at

Douglas Paton is a Summerland writer and musician. If you know of a local arts and culture event, contact him at