Penelope, bred by Rev. Joseph Pemberton, 1924.
'Ophelia' X 'Trier'.
The shrub itself is about 5 X 5 feet at maturity, often slightly wider than it is tall. The Hybrid Musks in general take on this growth habit, and are generally best pruned lightly, if at all, in order to enjoy their graceful form. You would be well advised to remove only dead or diseased wood, and to keep the plant within bounds. Foliage is a rich dark green color, and very disease resistant. (It will rarely get Blackspot, and only when stressed.)
Blooms are produced prolifically in large panicles (clusters) of 5 to 25 or more, and are a soft peach color as they open, but fade to peachy-white when fully open, as you see here. The flat blooms have wavy petals, creating a slightly frilly effect. There is very little fragrance, but that is a small sacrifice for such a nice shrub. It is easy to see why this has always been a favorite of the Hybrid Musks.
Supposedly a Triploid (3N = 21 chromosomes), 'Penelope' has produced some offspring, and may be worth exploring as a modern parent. I have begun using it, and 'Buff Beauty' in my breeding work.
merit rating: 8.1
Original photographs and site content © Paul Barden 1996-2003