Rosa ‘Papa Meilland’

Hybrid tea roses do not do well on my light soil, but if I could grow them I would go all out for sumptuous colour and smell. ‘Papa Meilland’ is a classic red rose with velvety crimson flowers and an over- powering scent. The shapely flowers come lavishly through the summer, and are held on strong necks, an asset if you want impressive roses for cutting.

One or two hybrid teas of special vigour will grow well enough on light soil if fed generously, of which I can report well of ‘Madame Butterfly’, with clusters of shell-pink flowers flushed with gold at the centre, blueish leaves and a soft, sweet scent, but in general I confine myself to shrub roses and flonbundas.

All hybrid teas prefer a rich soil and need a hard pruning in spring. Where to place them in the garden is a more difficult matter, for the growth is too stiff for an informal setting and they do not look at ease in a mixed border. I like them best grown in their own rosebeds in the traditional head gardener’s way, where one can admire their sheer magnificence. Pansies, again a time-honoured choice, make a neat and appropriate underplanting.

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