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  • Writer's pictureMarie Ohanesian Nardin

She will never know...

Thanks to Vita Sackville-West a special rose flourishes in my garden.

Souvenir du Docteur Jamain

Originally bred by François Lacharme - France, 1865


Much can be said about the pros and cons of social networks, but because of them I discovered something very interesting about a certain breed of roses we planted in our garden 15 years ago. Chosen from our

landscaper's/gardener's collection because of its soft, old rose scent and deep velvety color, he nor I knew its proper name. Then, just a few days ago and right before this first bloom of 2023 blossomed, an interesting post about this very rose was made on a FB "rose group" a dear friend very recently invited me to join.



I made further inquires there and elsewhere, and it seems this breed that continues to bring grace to my garden and to many other gardens around the globe can be solely attributed to the work of Vita Sackville-West, English author and garden designer, which she began when renovating Sissinghurst Castle and Gardens, Kent U.K., in the 1930s:


"Souvenir du Docteur Jamain is an old fashioned hybrid perpetual which I am rather proud of having rescued from extinction. I found him growing against the office wall of an old nursery. No one knew what he was; no one seemed to care; no one knew his name; no one had troubled to propagate him. Could I dig him up I asked? Well, if you like to risk it, they said, shrugging their shoulders; it’s a very old plant, with a woody, stiff root. I risked it; Docteur Jamain survived his removal; and now has a flourishing progeny in my garden and also on the market of certain rosarians to whom I gave him. Docteur Jamain is a deep red, not very large flowers, but so sweetly and sentimentally scented. Some writers would call it nostalgically scented, meaning everything that burying one’s nose into the heart of a rose meant in one’s childhood, or in one’s adolescence when one first discovered poetry, or the first time one fell in love." Vita Sackville-West (1892 – 1962)


Click to read more interesting information about Ms. Sackville-West's Sissinghurst Castle and Gardens Kent, UK














Souvenir du Docteur Jamain

Origin: Bred by François Lacharme (France, 1865)

Breed salvaged by Vita Sackville-West (Sissinghurst Castle 1930s)

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