The Timeless Rose House
Roses Bred by Meilland
AbeDarbyTrim Phot

It was the best of events; it was the worst of events. When Peace was released by Conrad Pyle it transformed the rose growing world. Instantly the hybrid tea rose was not just the epitome of rose gardening. It was rose gardening in its entrirety. A lot of good things flowed from this order of things. One was that the colors expressed by the rose changed almost overnight. Another was a resurgence of interst in blossom size and form. There is a lot to be said for these impulses, for they all brought improvements and new possibilities to roses. But it made us forget most of the things that make roses good garden plants. And it made us forget how to build gardens that gracefully integrate roses rather than awkwardly tack them on. This has had the long term effect of moving the rose out of the garden. And this was definitely bad.

Fortunately the lessons learned by Meilland in France were not the same as those learned by breeders stateside. And by the early 1960's Meilland had begun introducing roses that were more garden friendly. Sarabande, Clair Matin, and Starina all defied the 'garden for the rose' tradition. These are all roses that today enjoy a solid following for their ability to produce masses of flowers on very durable plants. Carefree Wonder, Bonica, a collection of Meillandecor roses and so on has kept the house of Meilland solidly in the forefront of the movement to keep roses as part of the landscape and garden.

I have grown Carefree Wonder, and though it is not immune to disease, it seems to muddle by. Occasionally I am quite happy with it. Frequently I threaten to dig it up. It grows much better in the municipal garden two miles away. I have planted Miss All American Beauty and it is off to a bit of a slow start, doing just a bit worse than Double Delight which I consider to be near the lower end of my tolerance range for vigor in hybrid tea roses. But where I have seen it in bloom I have fallen in love with it for its fine, bright raspberry color and for the freedom with which it produces blossoms. Scarlet Knight I grow near a south facing wall and it has managed, from time to time, to be quite glorious. It remains remarkably vigorous and trouble-free. It, too, is planted in a municipal garden nearby where it wows me every year.

Over the last decade, Meilland has introduced a number of roses in its 'Romantica' line. These are roses with old-style blossoms on shrubby growth designed to compete with Austin's English roses. My own impression is that they appear a little less foliferous than the best Austin roses. And I am not completely convinced they are as fragrant - though these impressions are based more on prejudice developed from a tiny sample size than on broad and systemmatic sampling. I find some of Guillot's introductions more compelling, at least based on the photos and descriptions of smells. Yves Piaget is a clear exception to this, reminding one of a giant bomb-style peony.

The timeless durability of a number of Meilland's introductions suggests to me that they have a tradition of working assiduously and testing carefully before they release most of their roses. The result is that many of their introductions have timeless appeal. Peace is still a best-selling rose and deserves its status. Sonia is another big seller. Glowing Peace, Colette, and Cherry Parfait (pictured) are among a tiny number of roses that have recently impressed me with their good looks.

RoseFile Database.

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Cultivar Class Color FragranceBreeder Hardiness
Hybrid Tea
Apricot
Moderate
Meilland
Zone 4
Hybrid Tea
Scarlet
None
Meilland
Zone 6
Hybrid Tea
Coral/Gold Blend
Slight
Meilland
Zone 5
Modern Shrub
Cerise
None
Meilland
Zone 4
Hybrid Tea
Coral/Gold Blend
Moderate
Meilland
Zone 8
Floribunda
Yellow
Moderate
Meilland
Zone 7
Hybrid Tea
Candy Pink
Moderate
Meilland
Zone 6
English Rose
Mauve
Powerful
Meilland
Zone 7
Hybrid Tea
Vermilion
None
Meilland
Zone 6
Hybrid Tea
Cerise
Strong
Meilland
Zone 7
Modern Shrub
Pale Pink
None
Meilland
Zone 4
Ground Cover
Pale Pink
None
Meilland
Zone 4
Modern Shrub
Rose
None
Meilland
Zone 4
Hybrid Tea
White
None
Meilland
Zone 5
Hybrid Tea
Salmon
Strong
Meilland
Zone 7
Floribunda
White/Pink Blend
None
Meilland
Zone 5
Hybrid Tea
Crimson
Powerful
Meilland
Zone 7
Polyantha
Red/White Blend
Meilland
Zone 4
Grandiflora
Red/White Blend
Slight
Meilland
Zone 6
Hybrid Tea
Crimson
Moderate
Meilland
Zone 6
Floribunda
Salmon
Meilland
Zone 7
Large Flower Climber
Pale Pink
Moderate
Meilland
Zone 4
Modern Shrub
Red
Moderate
Meilland
Zone 6
Large Flowered Climber
Shell Pink
Moderate
Meilland
Zone 6
Hybrid Tea
Shell Pink
Moderate
Meilland
Zone 7
Modern Shrub
Coral
None
Meilland
Zone 4
Hybrid Tea
Pink / Yellow
Strong
Meilland
Zone 7
Floribunda
Scarlet
None
Meilland
Zone 7
Hybrid Tea
Crimson
Slight
Meilland
Zone 5
Hybrid Tea
Candy Pink
Powerful
Meilland
Zone 5
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Roses for Every Garden