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Rose of the Month For November, 2003
by Nanette Londeree, Consulting Rosarian

The English Reverend Joseph Pemberton developed the group of roses known as hybrid musks in the early part of the twentieth century. He devoted 12 years of his retirement to the breeding and growing of roses that are indirect descendents of the musk rose - the source of their disease resistance and vigor and tolerate less sunlight than most other roses. Our Rose of the Month, Penelope, was developed in 1924 from a cross of Ophelia and an unnamed seedling.

Penelope is an outstanding rose - it is considered one of the best hybrid musk roses. The loose double blooms, 2 - 3 inches wide, are produced abundantly in large sprays on long, nearly thornless, arching canes throughout the growing season - it is often one of the first roses to bloom in the spring as well as the last in the fall. The lovely shell pink colored blossoms fade to creamy white with a lemon yellow center and possess a strong, heady musk fragrance. The overall loose form of the flowers gives this plant an "old rose" type of charm.

In our mild climate, Penelope grows as a large spreading shrub - it can grow five feet or more. Beautiful copper tinted young leaves cover the plant and turn to glossy dark green, crispy foliage with age. The hips begin a pale apple green and turn to brilliant coral pink spheres that, like the flowers, are produced in abundance.

This rose is versatile and can be maintained as a shrub, trained as a pillar or climber. It is spectacular when planted in groups to provide a mass effect of flowers. It has an ARS rating of 8.8 and won the Garden of Merit award from the National Rose Society in the UK in 1925. This charming rose can add a lot to your garden - it is truly a standout that is always in bloom.

Penelope Photo courtesy of: Petaluma Rose Company

Previous Roses of the Month:

October, 2003

September, 2003

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