Hybrid Musks

Rosa ‘Penelope’ (photo © Howard Rice)

The Hybrid Musks are a fairly distinct and recognisable group. They repeat flower and have small to medium sized flowers that are produced in large sprays. They cover the whole range of colours, although most are in the softer range and usually have a fruity, musky fragrance.

The best known ones, Penelope, Cornelia, Felicia and Buff Beauty, make large shrubs at least 2m/6ft tall and across but in warm climates can make substantial climbers.

A number of breeders have had a hand in them, but the originator was the Reverend Joseph Pemberton who, as a younger man was a keen shower of roses but on retirement decided to try and breed roses that would be much tougher and easier to grow. He started with Trier, crossing it with a range of different varieties.

After his death in 1926 his gardener J. A. Bentall carried on the breeding work and introduced his own varieties. More recently Louis Lens and his successors Rudi and Ann Velle in Belgium have carried on in the same vein and produced some excellent repeat flowering and very hardy shrubs and ramblers such as Guirlande d’Amour, Sibelius, Caroline’s Heart and Fil des Saisons.