Rosa 'Souvenir du Docteur Jamain'

or if its good enough for Vita .........
Souvenir du Docteur Jamain is a very beautiful rose.  It has lush dark red petals and it smells like a rose should smell.  It has a strong scent that on a warm day wafts across to where I sit in the garden.

I sought this rose out because I read that it was Vita Sackville West's favourite rose, well if its good enough for Vita then it is certainly good enough for me......

...... but.......
It has a tendency to be a bit manky (manky is a technical term).  Not all the flowers open, the buds quite often just stay balled up and whither away.

I know that this can be caused by rain/damp conditions, but this year it has not been very damp so far and this rose more than any other in garden suffers from this problem.  This is easily solved by removing the dead looking flowers so that new ones will develop. 
The rose does produce more good flowers than not and the colour and scent more than makes up for its irritating habit of mankiness.  I only have two, one shrub and one climber and the climber performs better than the shrub.  However, the climber has not actually climbed very far either, so it is a plant with some disappointment attached to it .....

....but if its good enough for Vita then it is good enough for me.


  1. This post did make me chuckle as I love my Souvenir du Docteur Jamain, the scent is divine, the colour is brilliant, but boy oh boy it is a manky rose!

  2. I have 2 x S du Dr J in pots - both midlewy + manky since one hot week when I failed to keep up with watering :-(
    although they tolerate a north wall - would they thrive in another aspect?

  3. I'm not sure how you prevent it getting manky, mine are in good sun and reasonable soil, but they still spoil very easily. I just think it is a tempremental rose unfortunately!

  4. I have to think that for Vita it was one of many, to be enjoyed when it is in its humor. I am considering the good Doctor as an anchor in a very small garden. Am I crazy? Can I do anything to humor him??

    As a side note, I saw a very manky specimen of Cuisse de Nymphe Emue one time, in the garden associated with Vintage Gardens in California. Surrounded as she was by many other characters, the effect was romantic with a hint of opulence or tragedy.

  5. And then of course Vita had several dedicated staff... I expect to deadhead rose campion (!) in that very same bed, so maybe getting my fingers covered with perfumed rose petals on a regular basis is part of the plan...

  6. I have an old and so far, despite attempts by several local experts, unidentified rose that looks very like Souvenir du Docteur J. But mine is pretty thorny - is yours?

  7. What a beautifully coloured Rose - Vita obviously knew how to overcome its mankiness


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