There are so many beautiful roses out right now, so how on earth do I choose just one?
No rose is perfect, and my favourite today shares certain less attractive traits with many others. Let’s face it, few roses look their best after a downpour and this one is no exception, it really sulks after rain; and then there is the dying process which can be untidy at best or downright unsightly.
But in so many other respects, ‘Souvenir du Docteur Jamain’ is a winner. First off, it is one of the best for a north facing wall: its rich, claret coloured, velvety flowers are deeply fragrant, and they tend to fade in full sun, so their position of choice would be dappled shade. Being almost thornless is another ‘plus’.
This sumptuous rose is a climbing hybrid perpetual and was bred in 1865 by Francois Lacharme, it was apparently a great favourite of Vita Sackville-West. The first and main flush of flowers is in June, but deadheading will give you a second, lesser flush in late summer. It reaches 6’- 8’ in height and its new growth is particularly pliable so tie this in to as near horizontal as possible which will encourage a greater number of flowers.