Having enjoyed growing Hybrid Musk roses for some time, had success with several of Paul Barden's roses, and enjoyed Jeri Jennings comments on the GardenWeb Antique Rose forum I felt like I had to grow Jeri's namesake which was introduced in 2007 and is now growing in its second year. Jeri has been a help to me and many, many other people as they have sought to learn about and grow antique and shrub roses. This rose is a wonderful tribute to her sunny disposition and friendly greeting to those with even the most simple questions. It opens with a cheerful yellow then fades to a warm buttery color. Jeri Jennings' fragrance is a strong tea scent with both sweet and musk overtones. Very pleasing.
Jeri Jennings' graceful habit is very typical of the Hybrid Musk class growing wider than tall but maybe just a bit smaller than many. Its long pointed leaves have a refined elegance. I think that in many ways Hybrid Musk roses represent a near perfect ideal of graceful repeat blooming shrub roses. My own selfish desires would simply add size to the flowers which typically are about 2 inches in size. I personally think that might be the image David Austin has had in mind working with the English Roses.
The Hybrid Musk group was created by Rev. Joseph Pemberton, an Anglican Priest, from 1912-1939. He was assisted in his work by John and Ann Bentall, who continued the work after his passing. There are a large number of roses in this class that it is hard to say who of the three was the actual breeder. Record keeping was not at the top of their "To Do List", and maybe that type of credit was relatively unimportant to them. In any case, the group draws upon a wide variety of lines while at the same time finding a unity that holds the class together. To my eye, Jeri Jennings would have (and does) easily fit in with the early roses in the class.
Maybe it is Rev. Pemberton's vocation as a pastor and avocation as a rosarian that draws me to the Hybrid Musk roses or maybe this gives me a deeper appreciation for these roses, but I find a special joy in these lovely, graceful, refined roses. Jeri Jennings is a very welcome addition to the group.