We have a Paul McCartney in our garden – it’s the lovely rose created by French rose breeder Alain Meilland in 1988. It was paid for and named by EMI, the record company that issued all Beatles records in the 1960s. This was EMI’s 50th birthday present to Sir Paul a few years later.
The McCartney Rose (also called MEIzeli and Sweet Lady) received 8 medals and awards at international rose competitions – fully deserved, as this is the strongest, tallest, hardiest and most fragrant one of all the roses in our garden. The bush grows to 1.5 m high and is covered with abundant sweet-scented blooms from March until late into the winter (with temperatures here rarely going below zero).
It is a hybrid tea rose, producing one flower with a high centre per stem, which opens up into a luxurious flower up to 7 inches across, with up to 40 petals in it. It is not afraid of diseases or greenfly.
It’s not a surprise, then, that it is the flower of choice for Beatles fans, and even Sir Paul grows it in this East Sussex estate in the south of England!