Members Garden Photos – Jim Thorleifson

I’ve asked, at every opportunity, for members to submit photos of their gardens but to date have been taken up on it by only one member – Donna Crosby, see below. So I’ll add a few photos of my own garden which will, hopefully, inspire some members of the club to add some of theirs. I’d be glad to come out to their gardens to take the photos for them – just e-mail us at

Looking West in the garden; the red rose on the right is ‘Roseraie de l’Hay’ a hybrid Rugosa from 1901. In front of it is the Hybrid Musk called Clytemnestra, raised by the Rev. Joseph Pemberton in 1915 – his rose creations are as valuable today as they were then. This one has been in the ground for a few years and is just now hitting its stride. The clematis over the arbour is Clematis viticella (on the left), and Clematis viticella Rubra on the right, melding into each other. Some think that the Rubra is a mutation of the species (on the left), but others suspect that it may be a hybrid. I tend to agree as the flower is a slightly different shape and it blooms later. This helps to keep colour on the arbour for a longer period.

The red rose on the peninsula is Rose de Rescht, thought to be very old. It was found growing in a garden in the town of Rescht, in Iran, by Nancy Lindsay in the 1940’s. It is classed as a Portland rose (a sub-class of the Damask family of roses) and so has a strong scent of the perfume type – the Damask roses are grown (primarily in Bulgaria) for the production of attar of roses for use in the perfume industry. It is quite low growing in the picture as I cut it back quite hard this spring. This is recommended for this rose, from time to time (and during the growing season as well) to keep it reblooming. It tends to make a small ball shape (to about 3 feet) and is never without flowers. One thing to note with this rose is that it must be properly deadheaded during the season or the decaying deadheads will cause mildew on the bush. I tend to stay away from roses that require any special handling but Rose de Rescht is worth any amount of trouble.

Looking East, under the Viticella arbour; the red climbing rose at the far end is Dortmund (seedling x ‘Rosa kordesii’) raised by Wilhelm J.H. Kordes II. Rosa kordesii was obtained by a supposedly impossible cross between R. rugosa x R. wichurana ‘Max Graf’- ‘Max Graff’ is normally sterile and does not set hips but Kordes noticed a few that had formed and grew them on. One germinated and the seedling was granted species status due to its chromosome count. Kordes then used it to grow many hardy climbing roses that can withstand the German winters in park-like settings. I also grow another, ‘Leverkusen’, a buff yellow climber. During our very cold winter two years ago, most of my climbers and ramblers were killed back to the ground but both kordesii climbers carried on as if nothing had happened. The others, that died back, are now in the process of re-establishing themselves as all my roses are growing on their own roots. In fact, I sometimes will cut a rose back entirely to below ground (once it is established) to cause it to rejuvenate itself but it is unnerving to do it to a climber – so Mother Nature did it for me. Another reason not to grow grafted roses.

A view of my pillar with the honeysuckle, Lonicera periclymenum ‘Serotina’, growing up it. I had tried to grow an old climbing rose up it (Madame Isaac Pereire) but was having no success in my sandy soil so I tried the honeysuckle last year. I had been wanting to grow it there but was nervous about its vigour, and it has taken off like a shot as expected, but the beauty of the flower and the (hoped for) scent will, I’m sure, make it worthwhile. My wife also helped make the decision – I’m not renowned for my diplomacy but have developed some at home.

The Helianthus in front of the pillar has been removed – it was acting like a thug and killing the Lilium speciosum rubrum beside it. I’m still looking for something for this spot. The Hosta in front is Hosta plantaginea, which took me some years to find (Phoenix Perennials in Richmond). Most of our Hostas come from Japan and prefer shade or filtered light; Hosta plantaginea, on the other hand, is from China and prefers full sun – in fact it will probably not bloom if it does not get it as it is very late in flowering and, in the past, was often called the August Lily.

It opens its flowers late in the day and through the night and is very fragrant. If you own a fragrant Hosta (Royal Standard, Honeybells etc) you can be sure that it is descended from H. plantaginea. It’s been in the ground for two or three years so should start to bloom for me soon – last year it set buds but frost got to it before it bloomed. I find that it takes five years or more before a Hosta is ready for prime time and will bloom well and I suspect that plantaginea may take longer. Unlike most people, I grow Hostas as much for the bloom as the foliage.

In front of the Helianthus is Geranium sanguineum ‘Striatum’; a bulletproof edging plant. I cut it back to the ground around the beginning of June (the end of June this year) and it will grow back to a reasonable height and flower again. It if is not cut back it will flop around excessively. I do the same with other plants in the garden – lady’s mantle, Nepeta, Salvia ‘Marcus’ (seen in the picture above) and others.

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
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2 Responses to Members Garden Photos – Jim Thorleifson

  1. Laura says:

    Great Honeysuckle pillar! I really like your path Jim. It draws you right into the garden. Did you do it yourself?

    • Hello Laura

      Yes I did it myself – took about 3 or 4 days to haul in the stones from the parking lot of my complex and place them. First, I excavated down about 10 inches and back filled with 3/4″ crushed rock – then compacted that and topped it up with sand, followed by the flagstones. They are bassalt, quarried somewhere around Whistler and are available locally at Meadows Landscape Supply. I bought them at Northwest Landscape and Stone Supply Ltd (5883 Byrne Rd. Burnaby).
      they’re about 3″ thick so should last a long time.


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