Where do the most wonderful scented roses come from?


Searching for the perfect scented roses

Last week we visited Meilland in southern France, a breeder of wonderful scented roses

When you are looking at breeders to find the next generation of beautiful scented roses, it is always amazing to see how roses are being bred and selected. It’s a game of numbers. Cross breeding varieties and developing many new brothers and sisters from hundreds of families. A lot of work when you realize that only a few of the thousands of roses bred will be used eventually.

Finding scented roses at Meilland
Wouter de Vries, Tim Hobbs and Bruno Etavard (from left to right).

Last week Tim Hobbs, owner of Tambuzi, Wouter de Vries, director of Parfum Flower Company and myself (Arnold Wittkamp) visited this amazing place; the gardens where the family of Meilland is developing new roses. We were searching for scented roses and roses with a natural garden rose shape. Or even better, a combination of the two.

Fields of scented roses at meilland

We were given a tour by Bruno Etavard and Pierre Meilland. We were shown the fields where they make first, second and third selections. We smelled every single rose and found some 50 interesting roses. Most of them were scented roses, a few with just a very interesting shape or color and no scent. These roses are send to be tested in Kenya, where a few examples of each variety will be planted to see if the grow up nicely.

Scented roses
This is one of very promising varieties we found in the fields. Great scented white and silver colored rose with a lavender hue. And an amazing scent!

If the plants do grow and flower nicely at Tambuzi in Kenya, the next challenge is to pack them to be transportesd. And hope the scented roses make the way to Holland in good quality so we can test how they flower here. And haven’t lost their scent. Because that happens sometimes.

Scented roses at Meilland in le Luc

From the 50 varieties we found, around 40 were scented roses. We are lucky to have 3 or 5 in production in the next 3 years. Only after 5 years we can grow enough to be able to distribute them to all of our customers. So patience is the key.

Tim Hobbs smelling the scented roses in the test fields
Tim Hobbs smelling the scented roses in the test fields

As you can see it was a wonderful day, with no protection, my neck was severely burned!!


A few days later we went to the Dutch greenhouse of Meilland where they are testing how some of the selected scented roses grow in Dutch high-tech greenhouse conditions. In the picture below you see our sales manager Johan Kloos smelling the amazing scent of the rose ‘Angie Romantica’. This highly scented rose is in production at Wans roses in Germany and hopefully soon at Tambuzi in Kenya too!

Johan Kloos smelling the scented roses Angie Romantica at the test greenhouse of Meilland in The Netherlands

We sure hope that some beautiful new scented roses varieties will be chosen to grow so we can start sending them out to our customers!

Paul Nghoto from Tambuzi in Kenya was amazed to see the difference from this greenhouse to the one in Kenya where he works.

Johan Kloos, Sjaak Oomkens en Peter Nghoto
Johan Kloos, Sjaak Oomkens en Peter Nghoto at the test nursery of Meilland in Holland

Would you like to find out which varieties we already source from Meilland? Then check out our Meilland Jardin & Parfum Collection pages!

Most of the new varieties of scented roses we saw do not even have a name yet, just a code. What do you think will be a good name for the mustard colored rose below? Tell us by leaving a comment below or by sending an email to: [email protected] .

New variety for testing at Meilland in the Netherlands. What name do you suggest?


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