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

Victoria teen with diabetes told ‘no food’ on B.C. Transit bus

B. C. Transit apologizes, saying it will look into food and drink policy

North Cowichan will host new permanent rowing centre starting October 2020

Saanich’s bid for national rowing centre at Elk Lake sunk

City of Victoria denies cannabis lounge business licence

Terp City Canna Lounge has been illegally operating for several years

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Giant rotating ice disk forms in Maine river

Ice disk that is roughly 100 yards wide has formed in the Presumpscot River

Condo rental bans on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

POLL: Should people have to license their cats?

The Victoria Natural History Society has sent letters to 13 municipalities in… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Kentucky canoe outfit borrows photo of Trudeau family to market business

They are in a red canoe, all clad in life jackets, and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and Ella-Grace are waving

Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson ‘feeling good’ after knee injury

Pettersson said he wasn’t feeling any pain during Wednesday’s skate

UPDATE: Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Tilray announces multimillion-dollar deal with U.S. marketing company

Nanaimo-based cannabis producer to partner with Authentic Brands Group

Ratfish generates social media buzz on Vancouver Island

Boneless, glowing creature a common bycatch, but it usually stays in deep waters – fish expert

Most Read