Kudos to Port Coquitlam’s Horticultural Staff

Jim Thorleifson

Spring would be a good time to pay tribute to the City of Port Coquitlam’s horticultural staff; they have devised a number of landscapes around PoCo that are tastefully done and colourful throughout the year. One of my favourite borders in the city is at the rear of city Hall, across from Leigh Square. It is filled with mostly perennial bulbs and plants. At this time of year it is a riot of colour with spring bulbs and is followed, in late spring/early summer, with a grand display of poppies and other perennials.

The front grounds of city hall are also very attractive at this time. Planting is in a natural manner with lots of colour, particularly in the spring.

Rhododendron, Corsican hellebore (Helleborus argutifolius) & Daphne odora in front of city hall.

City hall plantings along Shaughnessy street.

The trail that runs south from Leigh Square, at Donald Street, is another excellent exercise in the planting of mixed borders in Port Coquitlam. It stretches for a number of blocks and features imaginative plantings that are at their spring peak now. Below are 3 photos.

A horticultural treasure in the city, that is largely hidden, is at the Port Coquitlam Cemetery at 4150 Oxford St. Tucked away in a corner near the front entrance is a natural wooded area that is beautiful and peaceful in all seasons. I’ve always thought that this small patch of urban forest could be further developed and was delighted recently to see that the city has been working on it. They have installed basalt flagstone paths leading through the woods to establish a memorial walk with plaques and markers and for the spreading of ashes of the deceased. There is seating and it is a wonderful place to sit and contemplate the beauty of nature. Below are 4 photos.

The whole project is being handled with respect for natural plantings to match the surroundings, using modest, but graceful plants, that should make this small garden more beautiful as time passes. I talked briefly to Lisa, the gardener at the cemetery, (she also installed the flagstones), and she tells me that she wants the area to have a relaxed and natural feel to it but that she is not averse to introducing plants with some colour and that she will be adding more spring bulbs and other perennials over time. She (and the city) are to be congratulated on making a beautiful spot even more lovely; it is well worth a visit.

A few suggestions that might work well in this garden:

Tulipa tarda – a small (4”) species tulip that works well in natural woodland plantings if it receives some light. It should naturalize well.

Tulipa turkestanica – standing about twice as tall as Tulipa tarda, this is another natural looking species tulip that is reputed to persist well when naturalized.



Some of the smaller, species, narcissus would fit in nicely. Perhaps the occasional double, blowzy and old-fashioned.


Cornus Canadensis – a low groundcover that is native and adapted to shady conditions.


Begonia grandis – a hardy, perennial Begonia that grows in shade and blooms late in the year when few flowers are present in shade gardens.


Rosa filipes ‘Kiftsgate’ – A very vigorous rambling rose, suitable only for climbing into the largest of trees.

Other rambling roses, wichuraiana or multiflora hybrids from around the turn of the 20th century or prior, are ideal for climbing into trees and then spilling out from the top. It may be necessary to get on a tall ladder with a long pole equipped with a hook on occasion to push the rose’s growth back into the tree. It is best attempted with a tree with a somewhat open canopy so that the rose will not be hesitant to venture into the centre of the tree to establish itself.

The following link provides an insight into the planting of a vigorous rose to climb into a large tree.


photos by Jim Thorleifson


About pocogardenclub

PoCo Garden Club Established July 5, 1990 by Len Cuddeford P.O. Box 631, PoCo Depot, Port Coquitlam, B.C. V3E 6H9 pocogardenclub@gmail.com
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2 Responses to Kudos to Port Coquitlam’s Horticultural Staff

  1. Pingback: PoCo City Hall – Favourite Border « PoCo Garden Club's Blog

  2. Pingback: PoCo City Hall – Favourite Border « PoCo Garden Club's Blog

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