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

Effectiveness of human waste as fertilizer examined during community meeting

Turtle Valley Bison Ranch hopes to improve pastures for grazing animals

Mobile Mammograms coming to Salmon Arm

The truck will be in town from April 11-15

Changes to dog ban on foreshore approved

Time of Salmon Arm prohibition will be two weeks later in spring

Parcel tax jump coming to combat city’s poor road rating

Salmon Arm paved road grade drops below 50, transportation parcel tax may increase by $30

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: A mix of sun and cloud, potential showers

Environment Canada predicts showers today will go away to allow for sun later in the week.

VIDEO: RCMP reveal five kids hit in deadly B.C. crash

Police are investigating the crash in Coquitlam on Monday afternoon

Convicted pedophile from B.C. raises fears after move to Ontario

Police have issued a warning about Madilyn Harks in Brampton

Mystery plane wakes up B.C. residents

An aircraft circled Langley City over the weekend after midnight for about an hour

Yellow snake spotted slithering in Greater Victoria neighbourhood

Police describe it as ‘large, pale [and] yellow’ suggesting the snake may be exotic

Stranger climbs onto B.C. family’s second-floor balcony, lights fire in barbecue

Incident in Abbotsford terrifies family with two-year-old boy

Hergott: How judges arrive at the truth

Latest column from lawyer Paul Hergott

British Columbians are paying more for booze but also broccoli

Victoria’s inflation was 2.3 per cent, a tick above Vancouver’s of 2.2 per cent

Budget 2019 includes training credit for Canadian workers

Minister of Public Service outlined the new program at Penticton’s Sprott Shaw College

UPDATED: Three dead in Surrey crash: police

Single-vehicle crash occurred around 10:30 a.m., police remain on-scene

Most Read