Darcy Rhodes (left) says his grandfather’s bonsai trees are his ‘babies.’ (Courtesy of Tamara Bond)

Darcy Rhodes (left) says his grandfather’s bonsai trees are his ‘babies.’ (Courtesy of Tamara Bond)

Fifty years of carefully nurtured bonsai looted from B.C. grandfather’s garden

Grandson says trees are invaluable to family

An 85-year-old B.C. grandfather is mourning the loss of several cherished bonsai trees that he spent decades growing and caring for.

“He always says, ‘they’re like my babies,’” explains grandson Darcy Rhodes. “He obviously becomes attached to them.”

Saanich Police says officers are investigating the theft of several bonsai trees, believed to have been taken between Feb. 23 and 26 in the Greater Victoria suburb. The stolen trees include evergreen, larch and viburnum trees planted in oval or rectangular pots at the time of the theft. The trees range in size from a foot to 18 inches tall.

Rhodes spoke on his grandpa’s behalf because his grandpa is fearful that the use of his name could make him a target for further theft.

He says the youngest bonsais in his grandpa’s collection – which includes hundreds of trees – are about a decade old, but he’s been growing some of the tiny trees for more than 50 years.

READ ALSO: TIMELAPSE: Making of a bonsai tree

“He’s got cedar trees and fir trees and pines and maples – you name it, he’s got a bonsai version of it,” Rhodes says. “He finds these little immature trees out in the wild, and then puts them in a pot and grows them and, you know, manipulates them to become a shape that he wants and prunes them.”

The bonsais require meticulous care over the course of years, Rhodes says. He estimates the trees to be worth roughly $400 to $500 each. But it’s not the dollar value that makes them important to his grandpa, who is a member of the Vancouver Island Bonsai Society.

“I’ll ask him, ‘Where did you find that one?’ and (he’ll say) ‘Oh up in McKay Creek in Cowichan, it was a snowy day and I saw the tip of it sticking out… each one has its story. He’s got all the memories that go along with it.”

But when snow arrived in February, Rhodes’ grandpa decided not to lock his gate to avoid slipping and falling. He had to move several plants around in order to shelter them from the snow, so it wasn’t until a few days later that he noticed some of them were missing.

The sentimental value is 10 times what the financial value is, Rhodes says. “It’s pretty sad. Even with that many trees, he can still recognize that he’s missing those ones.

“My grandpa is probably one of the most passionate people on Vancouver Island when it comes to bonsais,” Rhodes says. “He definitely wants to get the word out there just because it’s a pretty niche market.”

The family hopes the trees will be turned in. Anyone with information is asked to call Saanich police and reference file #21-4442.

READ ALSO: Ancient art takes root at Saanich garden


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: nina.grossman@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Saanichtheft

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

ght
Mission RCMP rescue boater on Hatzic Lake

Two officers swam out to save man clinging to an overturned boat

Abbotsford’s Ying Chun Chen recently won a $1-million prize with Lotto 6/49. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Ying Chun Chen recently won the $1-million prize in a Lotto 6/49 draw. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Ying Chun Chen wins Lotto 6/49 $1-million prize

Ticket was purchased at Abbotsford’s FreshCo for the March 6, 2021 draw

Kao Macaulay has been charged in relation to a home break-in on March 30 in Abbotsford in which five kittens were stolen. (Facebook photo)
Former Chilliwack man charged with theft of 5 newborn kittens in Abbotsford

Prolific offender Kao Macaulay, 23, accused of breaking into home on March 30

Workers were on scene to clean up the oil spill in Abbotsford at Trans Mountain Pipeline’s Sumas pump station in June 2020. (File photo by Shane MacKichan)
TSB releases final report on June 2020 oil spill in Abbotsford

Transportation Safety Board says pipeline fitting to blame for spill of up to 190K litres

Williams Lake RCMP arrested a man Saturday, March 13 near Wildwood in vehicle stolen in Quesnel. (RCMP logo)
UPDATE: Chilliwack woman missing since March 17 found safe and sound

RCMP thanks the media and public for assistance

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

In a 2019 photograph, Yin Yin Din held a picture of her brother Kyaw Naing Din, 54, and her late father Hla Din who passed away in 2014, during a trip to Victoria. (The News files)
Family of B.C. man killed by cop appeals to Attorney General for help

The Din family want B.C. Attorney General David Eby to forward their case to Crown

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Maple Ridge's Doug Ubell caught some photographs recently that he was anxious to share, one taken while on the Trans-Canada Trail looking southwest towards the Pitt River Bridge, and another from on Golden Ears Bridge. (Special to The News)
Traffic on Golden Ears Bridge returning to pre-pandemic levels

Commuters from Greater Vancouver still driving more, taking transit less

Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions (Screen shot)
Minister of mental health tells Surrey audience COVID-19 ‘has made everything worse’

More than 23,000 people in B.C. are receiving medication to treat opioid addiction

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

Most Read