"Souvenir de la Malmaison", with its sumptuous shell-pink blooms and intensely spicy fragrance, is without doubt one of the great roses of all time. It is a Bourbon rose bred in 1843 and was named to commemorate the superlative rose garden developed by Napoleon's lover , Josephine de Beauharnais at Malmaison, the country estate snear Paris which she bought in 1799.
Josephine was a woman of extraordinary character, unique in her era, undertaking detailed and credible scientific analysis regarding the manner in which characteristics of plants were passed on from one generation to the next. She pioneered selective breeding with her rose collection and her work in this area influenced Lamarck. Josephine may be justifiably seen as taking one of the first tentative steps leading to the science of genetics, now transforming our world and our understanding of life itself.
Our plant, a climbing version, has been given a pergola all to itself. Surrounding "Josephine's Arbour" is a collection of dahlias, another plant whose potential was recognized and explored by Josephine.