It is exactly 75 years since MGM released Mrs Miniver, a tale of stiff upper lips accompanied by the wail of air raid sirens. The film’s most famous moment is when Greer Garson (in the title role) disarms a German airman she finds hiding in her garden and slaps him in the face. In another scene – echoed in the first series of Downton Abbey – the local stationmaster wins a prize at the annual flower show, for a rose named after the village heroine.
Mrs Miniver was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic, and took six Academy Awards in 1943. That same year, American rose grower Jackson & Perkins jumped on the bandwagon with the introduction of a hybrid tea rose called ‘Mrs Miniver’. The plant had been bred in south-eastern France by César Chambard. Flowers were scarlet with darker reverse, large and strongly fragrant. They appeared in flushes through the season, opening from long, slender buds.