The famous Ladysmith rhododendron “Lady Cynthia” before it was damaged by a wind storm in December. (Facebook/Marcy Horswill).

Still hope for famous Ladysmith rhododendron after wind storm

Shrub ‘Lady Cynthia’ badly damaged during December wind storm

It took over 100 years to grow and only one wind storm to damage.

A towering rhododendron stood for more than a century in Ladysmith until a December wind storm blew through the community, knocking out power and destroying two of the shrub’s three main branches.

The plant – famous to visitors and locals – is known lovingly as “Lady Cynthia.” Its mass of thick leaves in fall and winter transform to fuchsia blooms come spring.

The shrub was so big (more than 40 feet in width and height) that it could be seen from the Ladysmith waterfront.

‘Lady Cynthia’ can be saved, say experts. But it will be a long time before the shrub is back to its former glory as a Ladysmith landmark. (Submitted/Peter Richmond)

Peter Richmond, the owner of the property where Lady Cynthia lives, only got to enjoy the full magnitude of the famous shrub for a year.

The wind storm was a “sad event,” he said.

“When it was in bloom it was a stunning spectacle to see,” he added. “It was a nice tree to stand under.”

Richmond said numerous horticulturalists and members of rhododendron societies have visited his property to see what can be saved of the historic shrub.

They say it should live, he said. “We have to cut all the weight off of it, it’ll need to be trimmed back significantly.”

Camosun College horticulture instructor Dale Toronitz said rhododendrons are hardy but don’t tolerate extreme wind exposure well.

“[Wind] can be an issue when they get really large and old and have a bigger canopy and catch more wind,” he said. “That was an unusual wind and it could have been the direction of it. You can’t really guard too much against the wind with [rhododendrons].”

Toronitz agreed the owners can save the ancient shrub by trimming it back to the remaining stumps.

They could also grow new “rhodies” by weighting branches into the soil.

“Put mulch or soil over top and they will root in one or two years.”



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow Nina on Twitter

Just Posted

Carnarvon Park plan becomes battle of racquet sports

Residents and community members given one more opportunity to provide feedback, questionnaires

Weaver calls for Assistant Deputy Speaker to step aside

B.C. Green Party leader alleges whistleblower was fired after looking into the Liberal MLA’s expenses

One year anniversary of tsunami warning in Victoria: what’s changed?

More alert systems tested, put in place since Jan. 23 scare

Alt Pride calls for zero police presence at Victoria Pride Parade

Says VPS can’t have good relationships with vulnerable communities if police participate

Hall of Fame looks to educate more athletes in Greater Victoria

Sports organization is interested in setting up more Bate family style awards

WATCH: Midnight mall break-in targets cash in donation bin

Thieves break-and-enter Tillicum shopping mall at 2 a.m.

Instagram celebrity pays for B.C. woman’s boob job

‘Kirill was here’ held a contest for women to win a boob job and a trip to Miami

POLL: Do you support a speculation tax on vacant homes in Greater Victoria?

Homeowners have begun to receive letters asking if they should be exempt… Continue reading

Man pulls over to help injured owl, gets hit by SUV

Chase RCMP say owl flew away while they were on scene

End ‘exploitative’ parking fees at B.C. hospitals, group says

HospitalPayParking.ca is criticizing a new contract between health authorities and Impark

New food guide addresses ‘elephant’ in the room – alcohol

Experts welcomed the tougher stance on an issue they say demands a co-ordinated strategy

Cannabis sales up 25% in November as overall retail sales fall 0.9%

Cannabis store sales totalled $54 million in the first full month of legal recreational pot sales

LNG Canada support far outweighs protests, CEO says

Andy Calitz vows completion on schedule at B.C. Natural Resource Forum

B.C. man says he was evicted due to ‘personal vendetta’ against his toddler

Matt Astifan says he has tried to do what he can but a young child will always make some noise

Most Read