Unless you're prepared to endlessly spray and surfeit them, roses often suck. Which is why I always pay attention when one stands out, aesthetically and constitutionally. Chartreuse de Parme is just such a paragon, a classic, high-end hybrid tea that is both aristocratic and tough; a veritable dragon in the garden. The magenta-averse may be getting the vapours at this point because CdP is the kween of the naughtily vibrant blue-pinks and you may associate this colour with bad taste; I would agree that it can be horrific in the wrong situ, but just breathe now and remember that some things are more than the sum of their parts.
Chartreuse de Parme was born in 1996 in the famous Delbard nursery. Those people know what the fuck they are doing. In a previous review I insisted one should choose a rose with at least a couple of well-known stars in their genetic background, but then CdP comes along with a bonkers ancestry to poop all over that cosy theory. You won't be shocked to discover one of its parents is the very lovely Nuit d'Orient, or, as we say down here while scratching our balls, Big Purple, a highly-perfumed stunner that only made it a few years in our yard. The blooms and rich fragrance are reminiscent of that pretty little fella, if more classically pink.
Ancestry-wise, the deep red Charles Mallerin and pink Yves Piaget have their own striking qualities but the grandparent Peace is probably the main source of CdP's best bits, given that few of its other antecedents are spectacularly distinguished. This rose somehow squeezed every last drop of greatness from that Mendelian lottery. Golf clap!
Chartreuse de Parme is an arresting rose with a decidedly haughty carriage and a generous growth habit, standing boldly upright on stout canes with enough dark, glossy foliage to balance that pose and provide a backdrop to blooms that are held clear on lengthy and gratifyingly butch stems. Here it grows to a good 1.5 x 1m wide, well beyond the '90cm' indicated on the label, though doesn't aspire to much more so you won't need a chainsaw to keep it in check.
Does CdP suck in any respect? Not really. It can sometimes be a bit bloom-shy in the first spring cycle for me despite full sun. There might be an extended lull between flushes, understandable given the biological cost of such quality flowers. And like many five-star prospects, Chartreuse de Parme is congenitally unsuited to sitting quietly in the landscape. It will stand out like dogs’ bollocks unless provided with similarly flamboyant companions, so don’t plant it thinking it will somehow magically calm the fuck down if you throw enough gypsophila at it. Give her red and lime euphorbias and delphiniums and those giant African lobelias to hang with. CdP's surreal circus beauty is no clown show and deserves pride of place.