Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Souvenir du President Lincoln

'Souvenir du President Lincoln'
ProfessorRoush is mildly late at observing the fabricated President's Birthday holiday, but since the importance of that holiday has dramatically decreased from the separate observances of Washington's Birthday and Lincoln's Birthday during my elementary school days, I don't feel overly guilty about it.  Truth-be-told, I'm kind of anti- all the little Monday holidays, anyway.  I never saw the point of anything other than Memorial Day and maybe Veteran's Day, but the rest just kind of interrupt my work flow and seem superfluous.  Heck, I had to work on President's Day this year, so what was the point? 

You can always choose to honor President Lincoln, however, by growing a healthy red Bourbon rose named 'Souvenir du President Lincoln'.  He was bred by French breeders Robert and Moreau in 1865, the year of Lincoln's assassination. I have a little trouble, myself, calling him red since he is more of a magenta-pink in my garden, perhaps showing a little fuchsia overtone from time to time.  In fact, there is some broad acceptance in the rose world that the rose currently being sold as 'Souvenir du President Lincoln' is not the original, which was indeed described as dark red, purple, or almost black.  The impostor stands, however, with no rival;  all the complaints about this rose differing from early descriptions may be accurate, but no other rose has stepped up as a candidate for the correct original.  This current one will also not be mistaken for the more modern deep red Hybrid Tea 'Mr. Lincoln', but he has just as strong a fragrance as its modern cousin, and a  blossom that is far more double, with about 80 petals packed into a cupped bloom. 

My 'Souvenir du President Lincoln' is entering his third full season in my garden, provided, of course, that it survived this long winter as it did the previous two.  Last year, as a two-year old, he gained some height, but his straggly nature seems more suited to being a pillar rose than a garden bush.  My specimen has several thick and long canes that grew to about 5 feet high and then proceeded to flop.  It is a very narrow bush, all legs and no torso, hoping only to find something to lean against.  The foliage is matte-surfaced, and grey-green, and the rose suffered from some moderate blackspot over last summer.  Definitely a Bourbon by nature, 'Souvenir du President Lincoln' is often described as an alternative to 'Madame Isaac Pereire, but in my garden I think MIP is by far the more vigorous bush and has a stronger fragrance. 

It has been so long since I've written about a rose that it almost feels unnatural, a bit too "in-your-face" to a winter that has surely not yet released its grasp on my snow- and ice-covered fields.  I hope I'm not tempting fate by thinking about summer roses during a minus zero morning.   



  1. Shall I add him to my wish list or would you advise MIP ? The leggy nature doesn't endear him to me, but the blooms certainly do. I have taken delivery of 2 new bare roots today - Louise Odier, which I believe is a 'must have' and also Gruss an Aachen, which I have read about in the DA catalogue, but know nothing more about it. Is it a rose you are familiar with Professor ?

    1. Definitely if I grew only one of the two, it would be MIP. Essentially the same bloom size, a little more magenta, but a better bush and I think a richer fragrance. I'm also growing Mme Ernest Calvat this year which might be better than both in the long run.

      I have failed miserably twice with grafted Gruss an Aachen's but I have a 1 winter survivor on its own roots that I have hopes for making it a second year. I've coveted this rose but it is only marginally hardy in my region, I think, and it does blackspot a bit for me...or at least it did in its first year.

  2. Go ahead and write about roses all you want-music to my winter weary soul. The plan for the "new" house is roses covering the south face. I'm having so much fun choosing.

  3. This post has been illuminating and extremely helpful. I thought my spindly & droopy plant was caused by it's less than ideal location, stuffed into a very crowded holding pen until I found the right permanent place for it. Now I know better!

    Fortunately I found your article before moving it to a place where it would have nothing to lean against. Time to look at pillar designs.


Thank you for your interest in my blog. I like to meet friends via my blog, so I try to respond if you comment from a valid email address rather than the anonymous noresponse@blogger.com. And thanks again for reading!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...