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

Thanksgiving Food Drive returns to Port Alberni

Volunteers will go door-to-door to collect non-perishable items

Tyee Club celebrates 80 years in Port Alberni

James Clark wins Fisherman of the Year award

John Horgan promises action after fatal mid-Island bus crash

Premier cites students, local Indigneous community as reason to repair the road

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs rally for the win with five goals in third period

Port Alberni team has won two games in a row at home

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

Most Read