Jane Tice wants visitors at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific to take home a piece of history this weekend.
The progeny of what was once Canada’s biggest fig tree – a plant that made headlines when it was transported from the Empress Hotel grounds to the botanical gardens and conservation park in West Saanich in 1986 – are up for grabs during the centre’s annual plant sale.
“They are beautiful specimens of a heritage fig,” said Jane Tice, HCP retail director. “(Buyers) would have a little piece of history.”
In 1914, a Ficus carica, or common fig, was planted on the corner of Douglas and Humboldt streets. In 1981, it was designated heritage for its outstanding, seven-trunk size and heavy crop of fruit.
Just five years later, the tree, the biggest fig in the country at the time, was transported to the gardens to make way for the construction of the Victoria Convention Centre downtown.
“While the transplant was successful, the tree did begin to decline,” Tice said. “Cuttings were taken and one has grown into a magnificent specimen next to the caretaker’s cottage.”
Trees grown from that second-generation plant, which now stands nearly eight metres high by eight metres wide, will be available for $20 each at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific’s plant sale from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Sept. 8 and 9.
If they live up to their genes, buyers can expect to one day own a massive tree producing bumper crops of fruit.
The plant sale is free to attend and guests are welcome to explore the gardens during the event.
For more information, see hcp.ca.